The Odisha Police on Tuesday sealed the state’s border with Chhattisgarh in an attempt to “flush out” the Maoists who had attacked a Central Reserve Police Force contingent in Sukma and killed 25 personnel a day before. The Odisha government has also issued an alert in Malkangiri district and deployed more security personnel in the region, reported PTI.
Odisha has asked security personnel to watch out for the assailants as they might try to take refuge in border areas, since Maharashtra has already sealed its border with Chhattisgarh. Security has been heightened in Chhattisgarh-Andhra Pradesh border areas as well.
“The central forces and state police have been told to undertake area domination exercises and flush out Maoist rebels, if any,” said Director General of Police KB Singh. “We have sounded a high-alert in the border areas,” Malkangiri Superintendent of Police (SP) Mitrabhanu Mohapatra said. “The whole district has also been put on extra vigil.”
The state’s security forces are also coordinating with their counterparts in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Chhattisgarh to apprehend the militants.
After Monday’s attack, Chief Minister Raman Singh said his government would go over its security strategy. “This is a grave matter. Our hearts go out to those martyred,” he said. “We will rethink our strategies in that area soon. I will sit and have a talk with the heads of the CRPF and the police.”
He said the Maoists were fighting to save their “last bastion in the country” and that development was the way to stop them. “Sukma is Maoists’ headquarters and their last bastion in the country,” the chief minister said, “If roads are built here, they will be wiped out. This is the last battle for them, which is why they are resisting so fiercely.”
“We are trying to improve our operations and also bring in development, but this was an unfortunate incident,” Singh said. “However, we will continue to push for development in this area, and our jawans are constantly helping us in this endeavour.”
Monday’s ambush was the worst Maoist attack on security forces in Chhattisgarh since April 6, 2010, when 76 CRPF soldiers were killed in an encounter in Dantewada district. On March 11 this year, a dozen CRPF soldiers were killed in a strike by Maoist fighters in Sukma. They belonged to the 219 battalion. These troops, too, had been guarding road construction workers.