In a shocking incident, Maoists killed a sub-inspector of police at Khairaput under Mudulipada police station limits in Malkangiri district on Thursday evening.

The killing of Krushna Chandra Rath (55) is likely to affect the ongoing talks between the State government and mediators suggested by Maoists in Bhubaneswar to resolve the Italian hostage crisis. It also exposed factionalism in the naxal camp given the fact that Sunil alias Sabyasachi Panda, who abducted two Italian tourists in Kandhamal district, had announced unilateral ceasefire while urging his associates to be active in other parts of the State to stay away from violence. The declaration was supposed to provide a conducive atmosphere for talks with the state for fulfilment of their 13 demands. Trying to reciprocate and keen to end the hostage crisis, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in a statement said no action would be taken by the security forces as long as the Maoists refrained from violence and unlawful activities. The latest killing casts doubts on the links of Panda with Maoist leaders operating in other parts of south Odisha.

Deputy Inspector General of Police, south-west range, Soumendra Priyadarshi termed the killing an inhuman act. He said the sub-inspector was popular in the area for his humane nature. Rath was posted as second officer of the Mudulipada police station which has its building at Khairaput.

Planned attack

The killing of Rath was pre-planned. At around 6.15 p.m. he came out of the police station to have tea at a roadside kiosk in the nearby market. It is believed that the assailants, who are suspected to be three or four in number, knew about his routine and were waiting to attack him. The assailants, who were in plain clothes, took him by surprise and killed him, Malkangiri district headquarters source said. Rath died on the spot. The attackers managed to escape from the spot before other policemen could reach there taking advantage of the chaos in the market following the murder.