State counters Centre claim on Red violence

The Odisha government on Monday countered the Centre’s claim that it had failed to deal with the alarming rise in Maoist activities in the state.

In reply to a letter from Union home secretary R K Singh, Odisha DGP Manmohan Praharaj said the state government was doing its best to quell the Maoist challenge and pointed out that violence and murders due to left wing extremism in the state had decreased in 2011 compared to 2010, according to statistics released by the Union home ministry at the chief ministers’ conference in New Delhi on April 16.

Highlighting anti-Maoist operations in Odisha, Praharaj said while 194 extremists were arrested between 2011 and May, 2012, as many as 60 others had surrendered to state police. During the period, 157 firearms were seized and 280 IED (improvised explosive device) and huge quantity of ammunition were recovered, sources said.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik said the DGP has given his response to the Union home secretary. “The overall situation in the state has improved and anti-Maoist operations in parts of Koraput, Kandhamal and districts bordering Chhattisgarh are being intensified,” he told reporters. He noted that the status report of the Union home ministry circulated at the CMs’ said the quantum of violence as well as killings had decreased in Odisha in 2011 in comparison to 2010. “We believe our concerted efforts will bring results and the situation will improve further,” he added.

Sources said the DGP, in his letter, pointed out that of the 23 Maoists killed in Odisha in 2011, the state police had eliminated 19 while the other four were killed due to joint effort of state police and central para-military forces. He also told Singh that despite the setbacks due to the twin hostage crisis triggered by Maoists abducting two Italian nationals, Bosusco Paolo and Claudio Colangelo, and Laxmipur MLA Jhina Hikaka in March, four Maoists had been neutralized in the state this year, official sources said.

Praharaj maintained that Maoist violence had been contained in Malkangiri, Sundergarh, Sambalpur, Deogarh, Rayagada, Gajapati, Dhenkanal, Mayurbhanj, Jajpur and Keonjhar districts. He noted that extremist activities in Narayanpatna area of Koraput, parts of Kandhamal, Nuapada, Balangir and Bargarh had become a cause for concern and security operations in those areas had been stepped up.

The DGP further said it was because of the state government’s sustained efforts that the Centre had recently included Nuapada, Balangir and Bargarh districts under its Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme and added that the state had been spending from its own resources to improve security infrastructure all over the state to fight the Maoists.

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