K. Srinivas Reddy

HYDERABAD: The number of weapons procured during the Maoist raid on Nayagarh town of Orissa in February last could be around 500, considering the fact that 175 Maoists had participated in the raids and that each of them carried away two or three weapons each, according to a ‘Maoist Information Bulletin’ issued by the Maoist Central Committee. .

Neither the Orissa government nor the Centre had disclosed the exact number of weapons looted during the raid. The bulletin sent to media institutions in Hyderabad on Friday night is again a new initiative by the rebels to open a channel of communication with the media.

The chief of central military commission (CMC) Basavaraj, who is quoted in the bulletin, disclosed that the Maoist raid teams had hoped to seize some 400-500 weapons, but they found many more. “We had ourselves burnt a large quantity of arms and ammunition as it was difficult for us to carry all of them. Since the place was far away from our stronghold areas, it was impossible to carry the entire load. So we burnt around 400 inferior arms, which the police claimed they recovered.”

The rebels made good with sophisticated weapons like AK-47s, Insas rifles, SLRs, LMGs and scores of short weapons. They left behind mostly the .303 bolt action rifles, which were seized by the police later.

Basavaraj also made light of the Orissa government claims that 20 naxals were shot dead when police pursued the fleeing rebels in Gosama forest area. He is quoted as saying that only two rebels, Rambathi and Iqbal from 7th and 9th companies of the PLGA were killed in the exchange of fire. Three policemen were also killed by rebels.