Terms media reports baseless and extension of the government’s campaign

Contradicting recent reports, top Odisha-based Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda alias Sunil on Saturday said he had no plans to surrender as was being speculated in the media.

In an audio statement, Mr. Panda termed the reports baseless and an extension of the government’s campaign.

The speculation had gained ground in the State after new Director-General of Police Prakash Mishra said he would be “very happy if the Maoist leader surrenders.”

In his statement, Mr. Panda questioned the senior citizens who were urging the Maoists to shun the path violence and hold talks with the government for maintaining silence over the non-release of people from jail whose freedom the State government had earlier assured to facilitate.

Mr. Panda also questioned the silence of the intelligentsia over the arrest of innocent people labelled Maoists and the harassment of those involved in people’s movements for land rights.

Going by the content of the audio tape, it appeared that Mr. Panda had launched a new regional Maoist outfit following his growing differences with leaders of neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

Instead of introducing himself as Secretary of Odisha State Organising Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), the post he had been holding since long, Mr. Panda introduced himself as Secretary of the Odisha Maoist Party.