Maoists hold ‘Praja Meli’ on last day of Martyrs’ Week

Koraput: Throwing an open challenge before security forces, left wing extremists organised a ‘Praja Meli’ (Villagers Assembly) in a bid to mobilise public support on the last day of Martyrs’ Week (Shaheed Saptah).

According to sources, over a thousand tribal men and women congregated inside the Basuguda forest in the cut off areas of Koraput district along Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border. As many as 30 top cadre ultras led by Maoist leader Sudhir took charge of the event.

Alleging that the newly constructed Gurupriya Bridge is just an attempt by the state government to loot minerals, Sudhir and his brigade delivered speeches urging the locals to join protests against the police and its anti-Maoist operations.

While the red rebels focussed on strengthening their organisation, a pillar was constructed in memory of the Maoists who had lost their lives during encounter with police.

Earlier on Friday, security was tightened in bordering areas of Odisha after a bandh was called by Maoists in Jharkhand on last day of the Martyrs’ Week.

While combing operations conducted jointly by Odisha police and CRPF was intensified in Bisra, Chandiposh, Topadihi and K. Balang area, more than 60 buses travelling from Rourkela to Jharkhand and Bihar were stopped following which commuters faced a difficult time.

Similarly, security was stepped up in Naxal-affected Malkangiri and other Maoist prone areas to avoid any untoward incident.