Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bhubaneswar (Orissa) : Outlawed CPI(Maoists) on Thursday called an anti-oppression week in Malkangiri district under the South-Western Police range of Orissa in protest against fake encounter and police excess in the name of combing operations being carried out by the Special Operation Group jawans. The week would end on July 2, police sources said. The leftwing guerrillas have pasted banners and distributing leaflets in Motu, Chitrakonda, MV-79, MV-99, Beijingguda, Kalimela and Balimela areas of the district asking locals to support their protest week. Roads from Malkangiri to Motu, Malkangiri to Orkel, and Malkangiri to Chitrakonda wore deserted look since wee hours of the day since locals prefer to remain in their home fearing landmine blasts. District SP Satish K Gajbhiye however informed over phone that massive combing operation has been launched along borders of Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh to check cross-border infiltration. "We have made elaborate security measures at all sensitive locations of the district to avoid any untoward incidents during the protest week," Gajbhiye, who is an expert on anti-Maoists Operation said. DIG, South-Western Police Range Sanjeev Kumar Panda and DIG, Southern Police Range, RP Koche have been jointly monitoring the combing operation in view of the Maoists protest week. Shops, business establishments in the district remained closed while public transport system was badly affected since the outlawed rebels blocked roads in several junctions by cutting tress. Meanwhile, highly placed Intelligence sources revealed here that besides employing their feared guerilla forces, the outlawed ultras are now taking a new route to carry out their activities; down the river. Malkangiri meets the Bastar area of Chhattisgarh and Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh. Malkangiri is separated from Andhra Pradesh by the Sileru River and from Chhattisgarh by the Saberi River. This is where Maoists have started raising a boat wing to facilitate faster movement of armed fighters, cadres and weapons. Besides the Sileru and Saberi, there is another inter-state river, the Mahendrataneya, between Orissa and Andhra. Maoists are now using boats to come to Orissa, especially from Chhattisgarh. They have their own boats but rely on local boatmen. We have already had a few encounters with them, a top Intelligence official said. "They are using inflatable boats which are easy to use. We seized a motor recently which was attached to an inflatable boat," said the official. The exact number of boats in the Maoists' possession is difficult to ascertain, but the number of motor-driven inflatable boats is rising steadily, officials added. There are two reasons why Maoists are using the river route. First, tendering process has begun for the 2,215-km long Vijaywada-Ranchi highway, which will pass through 12 Maoists-affected districts of Orissa. The highway, said officials, will facilitate anti-Maoists operations. It will also help security forces carry out joint inter-state operations against the Left-wing ultras in Andhra, Orissa and Jharkhand. The second reason, officials said, is that a boat wing would give Maoists more options during the monsoon, when they normally lie low.

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