The Odisha police on Saturday said the killing of 13 Maoists in a pre-dawn gun-battle in Malkangiri district was a warning to the ultras not to venture into the state.
“This is a warning for Maoists of other states. They will face a similar fate as the 13 after entering Odisha,” Director General of Police Prakash Mishra said before leaving for Malkangiri to review the situation after the encounter.
“Odisha Police is set to take firm action against Maoists,” Mr. Mishra said as he, along with Additional DG (Intelligence) Abhay, Inspector General of Police (Operation) S Priyadarshi and senior police officers engaged in anti-Maoist operations, proceeded to Malkangiri following the encounter on Odisha-Chhattisgarh border.
Giving details of the encounter, Mr. Mishra said the police had specific information on movement of a group of Maoists from Chhattishgarh to Malkangiri district.
“Our personnel headed by Malkangiri SP Akileshwar Singh launched a combing operation on the border based on intelligence input and received success,” he said.
Complimenting the police, the DGP said the District Voluntary Force and the state’s elite anti—Maoist force, Special Operations Group, took part in the operation with BSF personnel in the background.
Pointing out that Malkangiri and Koraput were the two worst Maoist-hit districts, Mr. Mishra said the operation was carried out entirely by the state police.
With the elimination of the 13 Maoists, 17 of them have so far been killed this year compared to ten in 2012 in Odisha encircled by Maoist-hit states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, police sources said.
While the Odisha Police have been successful in containing Maoist violence in five districts, seven districts have been identified as highly affected and six others as moderately affected.
“There has been no incident in five districts for above one and half years,” a senior official said.
He said Maoists have been trying to increase their sphere of influence also to Subarnapur and Kalahandi districts.
“They have been trying to consolidate and strengthen themselves on Odisha-Chhattisgarh border (Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Bolangir, Baragarh and Kalahandi districts),” a senior official said.