Pradeep Pattanayak

The recent spurt in Maoist activities in the neighbouring states of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh has left Odisha Police worried. 

On Thursday night, the Ultras blew off a portion of a railway track near the Karo river under Goyalkera police limits in Jharkhand, disrupting railway traffic on the Howrah–Nagpur–Mumbai route for almost nine hours. More than 20 trains halted at different stations. However, no casualty was reported in the incident.

On Wednesday, the Maoists had set on fire multiple vehicles and blocked the National Highway in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma hours after their encounter with security forces in the nearby forest. They torched a passenger bus, two trailers, and a pickup vehicle. No loss of life was reported from there too. 

Also Read: Maoists blow up railway track near Rourkela, train movement affected

In Odisha, the Naxals have made their presence felt in Boudh, Kalahandi, Kandhamal and Sundargarh. 

While a huge cache of Maoist articles was seized during an operation from Subarnagiri forest under Manamunda police limits in Boudh district last week, Maoist posters were found pasted on the over-bridge wall near Sundargarh private bus stand. The posters were allegedly put up by the People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI). 

Maoist activities reported from Boudh and Sundargarh, which were once declared Maoist-free districts, have left the people in a state of panic. 

“A kind of fear has gripped the district following Maoist activities. The police need to take more steps to ensure people’s safety,” said Baidyanath Hota, a Boudh district resident. 

Informing about the steps being taken by the police, sub-divisional police officer (SDPO), Sundargarh said, “We are doing grassroots level enquires to thwart such activities.”

Odisha is facing threats from the South and West sides as Mainpur Division and Bihar-Jharkhand Special Committee are active in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, respectively. The Kandhamal-Kalahandi-Boudh-Nayagarh (KKBN) is rearing its ugly head in Odisha as well.

The question arising is how the police will tackle the situation. 

“It has been a trend that Maoist activities increase ahead of any election. I have been noticing it since 2005. They would warn people against using their franchise. And their warning would go up in smoke. There is nothing new in it,” said ex-police DG Bipin Bihari Mishra.