Odisha Police launch combing operation jointly with CRPF
The search operation was intensified after the killing of the ASI Krupam Majhee by Maoists on Tuesday
An intense combing operation has been started jointly by the CRPF and Odisha Police Special Operation Group early morning on Wednesday inside the Sunabeda sanctuary and adjoining forest areas of Odisha's Nuapada district where an ASI (assistant sub inspector) of Odisha police, Kruparam Majhee, was killed by Maoists after being kidnapped.
DIG Soumendra Priyadashee said that the combing operation along the Nuapada-Chattisgarh border has been intensified in the wake of the killing with focus on the Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary, which the Maoists, operating on both sides of the border, had been using as a hide-out. We have also taken the help of Chhattisgarh police.”
The operations were concentrated around the Sunabeda Sanctuary bordering Chhattisgarh where the body of Majhee was found with three gunshot wounds on Tuesday, Deputy Inspector General of Police (South-West), Soumendra Priyadarshi said.
Describing the area in the backward district as a Maoist hotbed, the Odisha Police Officers Associations’ President Shawarmall Sharma who met the ASI family members Wednesday said, “The killing of the tribal police officer proved that the Maoist claims of working for tribal and the poor was hollow.”
Forces have also been deployed at strategic points to prevent movement of the extremists on the Odisha-Chhattisgarh border.
The late Majhee was accorded a guard of honour at the District Reserve Police Lines and his last rites were performed with full state honours at his home village of Beltukri, said Nuapada police SP.
Ex. DGP of Odisha Police Gopal Nanda said to Tehelka, “They prefer abduction to confrontation with the police personals because it is almost risk free and gives better results. They did that in Andhra in the past and got many people release from jail. In Odisha, unfortunately, in these three instances, the victims got themselves abducted by the Maiosts and they detained them in order to get some demands fulfilled. In my view the government should have a clear cut policy on abduction and should not go beyond a point. In fact there should be an all India abduction policy not to allow Maoists detained for violence be released on their demands following abduction.”
The 44-year-old ASI of Dharmabandha outpost was escorting a water tanker to a CRPF camp at Goudha with a constable on a motorbike when they were interrupted by a group of about 10 armed Maoists.
Maoists abduct and kill Assistant Sub-Inspector Kruparam Majhi
Majhi's bullet-riddled body was found near the Sunabeda sanctuary, close to the Odisha-Chhattisgarh border
Barely a fortnight after releasing Biju Janata Dal MLA Jhina Hikaka, Maoists groups struck yet again on Tuesday. However, this time they were not bargaining for a deal. They abducted and killed assistant sub-inspector Kruparam Majhi, who was posted at Dharambandha outpost in Nuapada district of Odisha.
“Majhi, along with constable Dev Narayan Sahu, was escorting a water tanker that was to be delivered to the CRPF camp at Goudha, when they were stopped by a group of armed Maoists,” said sub-divisional police officer Prafulla Patra. While Sahu was let off, the Maoists kidnapped Majhi. Majhi's bullet-riddled body was later found near the Sunabeda sanctuary, located close to the Odisha-Chhattisgarh border. "A group of armed Maoists abducted the ASI and shot him. His body has been recovered," confirmed Manmohan Praharaj, Director General of Police, Odisha.
According to Nuapada Superintendent of Police Uma Shankar, “The Maoists killed the ASI as they suspected that the he was in charge of the water supply to the CRPF camp.” At around 11.45 am on Tuesday, the ASI and his colleague constable Deba Narayan Sahoo were on their routine duty to escort the water tanker from Nuapada town to the CRPF camp located at a distance of seven kilometers and before this incident the Maoists have sent warning messages to the ASI not to do this job for long time.
According to DGP Praharaj senior police officials, including southern range DIG Soumendra Priyadarshi, rushed to the spot on hearing the news and had also launched combing operations in the nearby forests. Nuapada SP Uma Shankar has said that the Union Home Ministry has sought a report from the Odisha government on the abduction and killing of the police officer.
A Maoist group from neighbouring Chhattisgarh, who had recently infiltrated into the sanctuary and camped there, is suspected to be behind the killing, police sources said. Manjhi’s killing is the most gruesome end to Maoist abductions in the past two months. Tribal leader and MLA Jhina Hikaka was released after being held captive for over a month and Italian national Paolo Bosusco was set free by the Naxals on 11 April, after being in captivity for 29 days.
The kidnapping and killing of field workers and lower staff such as constables, junior engineers, Panchayat workers comes as a shock to the locals. According to academician Rajat Kujur who has studied the Maoist Issue in depth, “It is not mere abduction, it is a punishment. The Maoists claim to kidnap somebody who the locals have ‘complained’ against. The victim is almost always killed because the abductors claimed to have ‘warned him in the Praja Court’. Odisha Police Officers Association president S Sharma has demanded strict action from the authorities. “It is high time and government act with a clear action plan against the Maoists,” he said.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced rupees eight lakh ex-gratia payment to the bereaved family. Apart from that, rupees 10 lakh insurance benefit will also be provided to them and a member of Majhi’s family will be given a government job. “I strongly condemn the brutal killing of ASI Majhi by the Maoists. Stringent action will be taken against the culprits,” Chief Minister said.