Naveen: Nabakalebar a challenge for cops

Cuttack: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today complimented the Odisha Police for achieving ‘zero casualties’ while dealing with Left Wing Extreme violence in 2014.

On the other hand, at least six Maoists have died in the state in the year during exchange of gunfire between police and extremists.

Speaking at the valedictory session of the two-day annual Senior Police Officers’ Conference here, Patnaik, who is also state’s home minister, said last year Maoist activities were brought under control except in the districts of Malkangiri, Koraput, Nuapada, Raygada, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Balangir and Baragarh.

“These districts should be our focus. All possible steps should be taken to counter the LWE activities in these areas,” Patnaik said, adding there has been progressive improvement in the overall Naxal scenario in the state with respect to frequency of violence, organisational activities, recruitment and mass mobilising by the extremists.

The Chief Minister also complimented the police force for maintaining law and order in the state in 2014, which saw the twin elections for Lok Sabha and Assembly.

The law and order was by and large peaceful during major festivals and staging of international events, Patnaik said, praising the policemen for maintaining communal harmony in the state throughout last year.

Patnaik however, cautioned the force to take care of the challenges ahead.

“The Nabakalebar (mega festival of Lord Jagannath) in 2015 is one such occasion where the state police is required to play a major role,” he said, hoping the police would be able to handle the task effectively with proper planning and coordination.

State Chief Secretary G C Pati, who also accompanied the Chief Minister to the occasion, too emphasised that the police force would play a vital role in maintaining law and order and manage the Puri traffic during the Nabakalebar in July this year.