Staff Reporter

With the killing of two villagers in Gajapati district, attention is now on Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign

Basadara Divisional Committee calls bandh on May 21

The message put up at the spot threatens Special Police Officer to resign

BERHAMPUR: Through cold-blooded murder of two village guards at Katama village in Gajapati district on Wednesday night the Maoists tried to hint that they still hold clout in areas of south Orissa other than Koraput and Malkangiri districts.

All attention is now on Koraput and Malkangiri districts where Border Security Force (BSF) forces have been deployed as part of the nation-wide Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign (TCOC) against the Maoists. The affairs of Maoists in Malkangiri and Koraput districts are headed by the Andhra-Orissa Border Committee of the banned CPI (Maoist) organisation. The Basadara Divisional Committee of Maoists is active in Rayagada, Gajapati, Kandhamal and Ganjam districts.

The Basadara Divisional Committee used the two recent murders to give a bandh call in Koraput, Gajapati and Rayagada districts of south Orissa on May 21. This bandh call is to protest against the ‘Operation green hunt'. This Maoist group was lying low in recent months due to frequent arrests and surrender of its cadres in Rayagada, Gajapati and Kandhamal districts.

‘Retaliation'

According to Gajapati Superintendent of Police (SP), Sanjeev Arora, during past two months 17 naxals have surrendered and nine ultras were arrested in the district. All these arrests and surrenders had occurred in the Adaba police station area. So, the Maoists preferred to strike at Katama village under Adaba police station. As the naxals were worried about the rising clout of police in the area they preferred to make the retaliatory killing of two village guards as gruesome as possible.

The two village guards Sadanand Singh and Dinabandhu Mantri were dragged out of their houses. Their hands were tied behind their back. They were shot at. Their throats were slit open and heavy boulders were used to smash their heads.

Their message at the spot of killing threatened the Special Police Officer (SPO) and village guards working in the area to resign. In the past similar threats to grassroot level police personnel to resign were being made mostly in Malkangiri district.

‘Identity crisis'

Police source said Maoists had resorted to such gruesome cold blooded murder for the first time in the district.

They also threatened the ‘police informers' to face similar fate as that of the two victims of Katama.

Mr Arora said the recent gruesome murders hinted that the Maoists were facing identity crisis following series of arrests and surrenders.