48 Maoists neutralised in Odisha till Nov 30: Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: Amid a walkout by the Opposition Congress and BJP members, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today said at least 48 Maoists including some of their leaders have been neutralised during 2015 and in 2016 so far.

“There is significant reduction in the strength of Maoists in the state. 48 Maoists including state committee members have been neutralised, 88 LWE members have been arrested and 95 have surrendered in the state during 2015 and in 2016 till November 30,” he informed the House while replying to a debate on demands of Home and General Administration Departments.

As Patnaik stood up to speak, Congress and BJP members walked out of the House protesting his abscence during the discussion which continued for more than four hours.

Large number of pro-Maoist militia and sympathisers have publicly announced withdrawal of their support from the Maoists in Malkangiri district, which was an encouraging development, the Chief Minister said.

“Attempts by Maoists to intensify their activities in Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Boudh and Nayagarh districts have been contained due to pro-active police action,” he said.

In order to increase mobile telephone connectivity in LWE-affected areas, Patnaik said 248 towers have been operationalised and proposal for installation of 518 more towers covering LWE-affected districts has been sent to the Centre for approval.

Ex-gratia assistance to families of civilian victims has been enhanced from Rs one lakh to Rs three lakh in the SRE (security related expenditure) districts and Rs one lakh to Rs four lakh in non-SRE districts to enhance the rehabilitation components, he said.

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Referring to Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra’s allegation on rising crimes against women, Patnaik said the state govenrment has created several institutional mechanism like Integrated Anti-Human Trafficking Units, Investigation Units for crime against women and Mahila and Sishu Desk with commensurate manpower.

“All women related henious crimes are regularly monitored and special public prosecutors are engaged,” he said, adding, efforts were on to augment the capacity of police force in the state.

Overall law and order situation remained by-and-large peaceful in the state as there was no major communal incident during the year, the Chief Minister said.