Bhubaneswar ( Orissa) : Orissa Director General of Police, Gopal Chandra Nanda quoting reports reaching here, said that as many as 21 Special Operation Group(SOG) Jawans were killed in a land mine blast triggered by the outlawed CPI(Maoists) cadres in Malkangiri district.
However unofficial reports say 24 have been killed in the blast.
The van carrying the elite anti-Maoists security forces was on its way from MPV 126, 50km from Malkangiri district headquarters town, to MPV-41, when the landmine went off.
"We are apprehending that all the 21 personnel in the van were killed in the incident," DGP Nanda said. The blast occurred at around 4.45 pm when some policemen were clearing the road for their vehicle to move forward, sources said.
The SOG personnel were going to the place where the Maoists attacked the house of BJP leader, Subala Bal late on Tuesday night.
According to the highly placed official sources, the SOG personnel were ambushed by the Maoists, who felled trees to block Kalimela-Motu road to block the vehicle while some of them alighted to clear the road they were fired on by the Maoists and their vehicle was damaged by the landmine explosion triggered at about the same time.
Though the vehicle was not completely damaged in the blast, as it was an anti-landmine one it had overturned and the Leftwing Guerrillas gunned down those inside when they tried to come out from it.
Fierce gun battles have also been continued at several places till last reports came in.
More SOG Jawans along with Central Para-Military forces were rushed to the spot after the explosion that came 18 days after the Maoists carried out an audacious attack on a launch carrying elite anti-Maoists Greyhound police personnel of Andhra Pradesh in Balimela Reservoir in the same district.
That incident left 38 dead and dozens injured.
However, after the incident, DGP Nanda has asked DIG, SWPR Sanjeeb Panda, DIG Southern Police Range, RP Koche, SOG Commandant Arun Bothra and DIG (Operations) Arun Sarangi to jointly monitor the massive crack down that has been launched in several undisclosed locations of Malkangiri and bordering areas of Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Sources maintained that CPI (Maoists) Central Military Commission Chief Vasavraj, CPI (Maoists) Chief Ganapati and Andhra-Orissa Border Zonal Committee Chief Sabya Sachi Panda jointly plotted the incident thorough their People's liberation of Guerrilla Army (PLGA).
Orissa Police has alerted its Andhra and Chhattisgarh counterparts to keep a close watch on border areas to check cross-border infiltration, sources added.
The incident has sent a shock wave among security forces working in Maoists infected districts of the State.
The tragedy happened few hours after the top brasses of the Union Home Ministry as well as the DGPs of four Leftwing Insurgency infected States including Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh to chalked out plan to curb the influence of CPI (Maoists).
Interestingly, Orissa DGP Nanda kept away himself from the High-level meeting, chaired by Union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta in New Delhi.
The Union Home Ministry had conveyed the meeting following killing of JD (U) MLA in Jharkhand Ramesh Singh Munda and about 38 personnel of anti-Maoists Greyhound force on Orissa-Andhra Pradesh border, will review the steps taken to deal with the menace