Maoists kill three policemen in Kondhmal

Kondhmal/Bhubaneswar/Cuttack: The Maoist ultras on the second day of the two-day bandh observations today targeted a police search party on the Kotgad-Srirampur road in Kondhmal district killing three policemen while three other critically injured policemen have been admitted to the SCB medical college and hospital in Cuttack. The injured jawans were airlifted in a critical condition.

The incident happened when a landmine planted by suspected Maoists went off while the police party was on its way in a Tata Sumo vehicle to Srirampur to collect details and evidences of another blast on Wednesday night. There were six policemen in the vehicle which has been damaged beyond repair. The home secretary, Upendra Nath Behera said that the victims included two police constables and one home guard. The deceased have been identified as Sunadhar Pradhan, Umakanta Jani and Sangram Lenka.

Following the attack questions are being raised regarding the violation of Standard Operating Procedure(SOP) by the police personnel while on naxal duty. Asked Ashok Sahu, former IG of police," Why were the policemen going in a vehicle while there was a blast the previous night and the Maoists were observing two-day bandh? Who gave the permission?" For, traditionally the Maoists know that after such blasts police parties would arrive for investigations and then the ultras can target the policemen easily.

The SOP suggests that the police parties should avoid heavy vehicles and instead move in light vehicles like motor-cycles and avoid thick forests. While the jawans must wear bullet-proof jackets and helmets, such parties must use trained dogs for such operations. The President of the Constable and Havildar Association, Padmanav Behera strongly alleged that the SOP rules were flouted which helped the naxalites to target the policemen. In April,2010, it was alleged that due to violation of SOP nine SOG jawans were sacrificed in a claymore mine blast in Koraput district.