Suryakant Jena

The Koraput Police has advised people to maintain caution and not to venture near the areas sporting Maoist posters. The warning comes close on the heels of intelligence inputs about increasing Maoist activities in the Red belt of Odisha ahead of the elections to the three-tier Panchayati Raj institutions.

SP, Koraput Varun Guntapalli on Sunday advised people not to go near any kind of Maoist posters bearing warning and boycott call for elections as it could be a trap laid by the ultras not only create untoward incidents but also disrupt the polls.

The public have been requested to immediately inform the police in case of sporting such Maoist posters or any other suspicious activities.

A few days ago, a journalist was killed while covering news on Maoist posters after coming in contact with an improvised explosive device (IED), which was allegedly planted by Maoists in Madanpur Rampur block of Kalahandi district.

Even if this is the first such instance of a journalist in Odisha getting killed in alleged Maoist violence, civilians have often lost their lives in landmine mishaps too.

Last week, a youth was also killed when a landmine, suspected to have been laid by Maoists, went off near Sadingia- Kiamunda in Kandhamal district.

Security experts say that left-wing extremists usually increase their activity during elections and resort to violent measures to target the police by planting IEDs and break the confidence of the public from taking part in the polls.

Koraput will go to polls in five phases starting from February 16. As per police sources, around 600 booths out of 2973 in the district have been notified as sensitive zones. In order to keep an eye on security measures, one constable will be deployed at all such sensitive booths during the polls.

Adequate security arrangements have also been put in place for smooth conduct of polling exercise in Kotia region hit by border dispute between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. Koraput SP chaired a preparatory meeting with police officials from the district on Sunday for the election exercise.