Falling Red menace: Can Odisha rejoice?

Bhubaneswar:  If the Wednesday statement of Odisha Director General of Police (DGP) Prakash Mishra is anything to go by, citizens of Maoist-infested pockets of the state can heave a sigh of relief.

“Since Maoist activities have started falling considerably in the state, we are planning to convert part of armed police into civil to strike a balance of the understaffed department,” Mishra said on Wednesday on the sidelines of the 5th foundation day of Commissionerate police here.

Talking to newsmen Mishra said, “Armed police grew in numbers in the past couple of years which was not in case of the civil. We want to streamline both.”

The top cop’s hint to pull security personnel from the armed unit too indicated that the section has adequate manpower to tackle guerilla attack of the Naxals, both present and in the days to come.  

Also, the police chief’s version, a corroboration of his earlier statement in Rourkela, gives ample indication that the red activities in the Maoist strongholds have started falling.

On December 30 the top cop in the steel city had said, Maoists no more posed a major problem and out of the 17 Maoist-affected districts in Odisha, eight have been freed from naxal activities and now the focus would be in the rest.

In the coming days the forces would concentrate on districts including Bolangir, Bargarh, Nabrangpur, Gajapati and Rayagada to demolish their base and uproot them and, the main thrust would be on Koraput and Malkanagiri as the two districts shared border with neighbouring states, he had said.

Mishra too had claimed that naxal problem in the state would be under control in next two years.

Eventually, the naxal hot beds of Malkangiri and Koraput districts have witnessed Maoist surrenders in the recent past justifying the suspected ideological indifferences between the hardcores and the general cadres.

On December 2, two hardcore armed cadres – Jadurai Soy alias Chamara (36) and Bijoy Honhaga alias Rakesh (30), active in Saranda forest in Jharkhand-Odisha border since 2005, surrendered before the Rourkela SP while five days later the steel city police arrested hardcore cadre Ram Gagrai (23) from the Saranda forest in Sundargarh district during combing operation.

On December 30, Maoist leader Sabyasachi panda aide Basudev Bhoi had surrendered before Kandhamal SP J N Pankaj in Phulbani.

Hailing from Kandhamal's Kambanaju village Bhoi had joined Panda’s Odisha Maobadi Party about eight months ago and received gun training in a Maoist camp.