Maoist hideouts being busted in Koraput

Koraput: Recent seizures of landmines, explosives and arms during raids at Maoist hideouts in Koraput district have boosted the morale of security forces engaged in anti-naxal operations.

While policemen recovered at least seven landmines from Mankidi forest in Narayanpatna area on Saturday, two Maoist camps were busted earlier in the week, police said.

Four big iron pipes used for preparing claymore mines, 40 kg gun power and live wire were also seized from Salpaguda forest on December 18. Security personnel had recovered two powerful landmines each weighing 25 to 30 kg, two tiffin bombs and a country-made gun from Musulmunda forest the previous day.

"Security forces in Narayanpatna are on high alert. The counter-insurgency operations are being regularly assessed and changes incorporated accordingly. Maoists had dumped the explosives in forests for use in future. We expect more success in coming days," said Koraput SP Awinash Kumar.

With its thick green cover and hilly terrain, Narayanpatna adjoining Andhra Pradesh, has become a hunting ground for the Maoists in the last few years. With locals maintaining a distance from ultras blaming the subversive activities for lack of development in the region and passing on information to police about their hideouts, things have not been easy for the later, sources said.

"The villagers, often caught in cross-fire between police and Maoists have realised that they are the ultimate sufferer. The red rebels have done little for their welfare and instead have stalled several development projects proposed for the area," said a senior police official.

Andhra-Odisha Border Zonal Committee of the outlawed CPI (Maoist) which operates in Narayanpatna and Bandhugaon is headed by Maoist leader Daya.

The locals have also distanced themselves from Chasi Muliya Adivasi Sangh (CMAS) which has forcibly occupied over 3,000 acre of non-tribals land since 2009, he said.

Another senior police officer, engaged in anti-Maoist operations in the area, said villagers are voluntarily coming up with vital information about Maoists. "We are being tipped about Maoist camps by the villagers rather than our regular informers," he said.