Fissures out in open in CPI-Maoist ranks

Bhubaneswar: The kidnapping of Laxmipur BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka from Koraput district comes 10 days after the Maoists abducted two Italians from Kandhamal district. The Secretary of the State Organising Committe of the CPI(Maoist) and the mastermind behind the kidnapping of the two Italian nationals, Sabyasachi Panda, had declared ceasefire to facilitate talks between government and the CPI(Maoist)-nominated negotiators for the release of the two hostages.

Yet, violence continues. Two members of a bomb disposal squad were killed in a landmine blast on the Lamtaput-Machhkund road in Koraput district. The sub-inspector of Khairiput police station, Krushna Chandra Rath, was the next target. He was gunned down. And now the kidnapping of Jhina Hikaka, the Laxmipur MLA from ruling BJD. 

Is there any rift in the CPI(Maoist) ranks? It is learnt from reliable sources that Sabyasachi Panda and the larger Andhra-Odisha-Border Zonal Committe of the CPI(Maoist) have been at loggerheads for the past one-and-half-year and Sabyasachi hence might have orchestrated the abduction of the two Italians as a strategic ploy to assert his grip over the area which did not go down well with his rivals. Sabyasachi, sources indicated, has been sidelined by the top leadersihip of the CPI(Maoist) for the last 18 months.

The Andhra-Odisha-Border(AOB) Zonal Committee which has been active in undivided Koraput, sources said, could have abducted the tribal MLA Jhina Hikaka in an attempt to embarass Sabyasachi and corner him. The AOB Zonal Committee is also suspected to have carried out the killing of police sub-inspector Krushna Chandra Rath.