Himansu Shekhar Rout

In the wake of a major anti-Naxal operation in neighbouring Chhattisgarh in which 29 ultras were killed and three jawans were injured, a high alert has been sounded in the Odisha-Chhattisgarh border areas ahead of the 2024 elections. Security has been tightened in the border areas along Malkangiri in Odisha.

As per reports, checking and blocking have been stepped up in the area even as security forces have intensified search and combing operations in border areas to ward off any violence ahead of the elections.

The border roads in Malkangiri linking Chhattisgarh have been sealed while the police of both states are sharing intelligence on the movement of Maoists.

Border areas in Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Malkangiri and Koraput have been sealed, sources said.   

Speaking to OTV, encounter specialist Laxman Kewat who led the anti-Maoist operation on Tuesday at Kanker in Chhattisgarh said, "Security forces received intelligence inputs about CPI-Maoists who wanted to disrupt the upcoming elections. The security forces immediately swung into action where the ultras had gathered.”

“The Naxals started firing at us. We asked them to surrender, but they did not listen. Security forces had to retaliate leading to the encounter.” 

Naxal-hit Bastar district shares borders with Odisha's Malkangiri. After this encounter, there is every possibility of Naxals intruding into Malkangiri. Keeping this threat in view, Odisha Police and BSF deployed in the area are keeping a strict vigil. 

Two days ago, the Odisha DGP took stock of the situation near the borders and said that police are vigilant on Maoists who may cross into Malkangiri before the first phase of elections.

Now, vehicles are being checked while borders have been sealed.

Meanwhile, combing operations were intensified near the border areas of Odisha's Sundargrah district.

As per reports, a Maoist camp was busted and a huge cache of explosive materials was seized in Tento forest under Goelkera Police limits in Jharkhand.  Among the seized items were 2.5 kg of gunpowder, 5 kg ammonia nitrate powder, 1 kg sulphur powder and poison-covered wires. 

Addressing a presser, Rourkela SP Brijesh Rai said, "Though the anti-Maoist operation is far from our border, we have alerted forces deployed on borders. We have communicated with the forces about the development and asked them to step up patrolling and checking.”

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