Reported by Simanchal Pattnaik
Phulbani, July 28:
Contrary to hopes expressed by the state government and police bosses, the Maoists are continuing with their activities and spreading their tentacles across Odisha’s Kandhamal district even after the eclipse of the Odisha Maobadi Party and the arrest of its founder Sabyasachi Panda.
The Kandhamal SP Kunwar Vishal Singh concedes that the Maoist groups from outside the state (Andhra and Chhatisgarh) have been operating in certain pockets in the districtand that explains why the police and the security forces have been conducting combing and search operations in those areas on a regular basis.
According to top Kandhamal tribal leader and lawyer Lamodar Kanhar, although Sabyasachi Panda had formed the Odisha Maobadi Party he was not involved in any kind of activity generally associated with the red ultras in the last two years.
” There is no reason to believe that the Maoist activities in kandhamal will stop with Sabyasachi’s arrest. On the other hand, the Maoist cadres from Andhra Pradesh and Chhatisgarh have made inroads to the interior pockets of the district during this period and are being assisted by their local leader Nikhil. The only reason why the poor are getting attracted to these extremist ideology is poverty and lack of development. Unless these issues are addressed, the government will never be able to contain naxalism in Kandhamal,” Kanhar said.
According to rights activist Narendra Mohanty, who has been taking up the cause of innocent persons dubbed as Maoists and charged with fabricated cases, said sheer use of force will not help prevent the left wing extremists from spreading their base in Kandhamal.
“The state government needs to solve the basic problems and issues that a vast majority of people in this backward region face while taking on the red brigade,” he points out.
There are over 20 cases against Sabyasachi in Kandhmal including the murder of Swami Laxmanananda and four others at Jalespata, blowing up of an ambulance at Gadapur killing five civilians and abduction of two Italian nationals.
However, since April 2012, Sabyasachi Panda and his outfit, the Odisha Maobadi Party had been confined to their jungle camps on the Kandhamal-Ganjam border thus allowing the CPI-Maoist cadres to regroup and carry on with their activities in other parts of the district, a district intelligence official said, adding, now that Sabyasachi is out of picture, there is a strong possibility that they would resort to guerrilla warfare in the district.
A senior police official told OST that although Sabyasachi and his outfit were operating on the fringes of the district, they a major obstacle to the growth and spread of the CPI-Maoist network in Kandhamal in the past two years. With that handicap removed, they are most likely to get active in Kotagarh, Daringibadi and Kalinga areas of the district.