A group of about 50 Naxalites, including women, involved in the attack

Armed Maoists destroyed the block office building at Padia in Malkangiri district of south Odisha in the wee hours of Wednesday. The Naxalites set the building on fire before using powerful explosives to blow it up.

Speaking to The Hindu over phone, Malkangiri Superintendent of Police (SP) Akhileswar Singh said the incident occurred at around 2.15 a.m. The Naxalites, involved in the attack, however, did not harm any inhabitants of Padia.

Although located inside the Padia village at a distance of around 70 km from Malkangiri town, the block office building was a soft target for the Naxalites as the government building did not have armed security around it during night. A group of about 50 armed Maoists, including women cadres, were involved in the attack. They broke open the lock of the building and after entering it, they ransacked it and set fire to the furniture and files.

Later, they planted the explosives and blasted the building. Four of the five rooms of the asbestos roofed building were completely destroyed.

According to Padia Block Development Officer (BDO) Trinath Madhi, all official documents related to developmental work, establishment section and personal files of employees were destroyed.

Poster found

Maoists left behind a handwritten poster at the spot. Through it they claimed that the act of violence was their protest against alleged atrocities of police in the area and against the anti-Maoist operations of security forces like the encounter in September this year in which 13 Maoists were killed.

Mr. Singh said a group of over 100 armed Maoists from Chhattisgarh, who were infiltrated into Malkangiri district during past few weeks to enhance the strength of the outlawed organisation, were said to be behind recent acts of violence. Maoists had suffered a major setback in Malkangiri district through a series of arrests, surrenders and encounters. Out of frustration they have now resorted to kidnapping and killing of civilians, torching of passenger buses and blasting of public property, he added.

Padia faced similar Maoist attacks in the past. In the wee hours of March 25, 2009 Maoists razed a police outpost, a government building and damaged a BSNL communication tower. In September 2010, Maoists blew up the new building of Padia block office. After that block office was being run in the old building.

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