Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Sambalpur, Mar 14:
The Maoists, who had lost control over the Sundargarh-Debagarh-Sambalpur (SDS) zone in the recent past following frequent combing operations by the Odisha and the Jharkhand police, are now trying to revive and strengthen their base for a major attack before the polls, police sources said.
“As per intelligence reports, the Maoist central committee has entrusted the Maoist cadres of Jharkhand the task of reviving this strategic zone by supplying them with INSAS, SLR and AK-47 rifles and planning a major attack on the police”, Sambalpur SP Pratik Mohanty told newsmen on Thursday.
He also said the district police had intelligence inputs on the influx of a large team of Jharkhand Maoist cadre- formerly MCC- into Sambalpur border recently.
Giving details of the exchange of fire between the police and the Maoists on February 12 last, Mohanty said the district police with the SOG and CRPF personnel had started a combing operation after a tip-off on a temporary Maoist camp inside Landakot reserve forest between Redhakhol and Kisinda police station limits.
During the operation, the security personnel spotted 30-35 Maoists inside the forest between Tangateka and Bantalei village.
“As the Maoists, positioned atop the hill forest, started firing at the security personnel, the latter retaliated with 130 rounds of fire and hand grenades. Unable to face the police attack, the Maoists fled the area after nearly 20 minutes. Some of them also sustained injuries. Police later seized huge cache of arms and ammunition from the camp”, said the SP, adding that the all the Maoists were from Jharkhand.
The district police have taken elaborate measures to foil the attempts of the left wing ultras to revive their SDS base, Mohanty pointed out.
However, unofficial sources said the local people had spotted over 150 Maoists inside the Talab forest on Thursday.