Rift among Maoists in state

Bhubaneswar: A rift in Maoist outfits operating in state has come to the fore with different camps expressing divergent views on the killing of a sarpanch`s husband in Rayagada district of the state.

A day after Sabyasachi Panda, Secretary of Odisha State Organising Committee (OSOC) of CPI (Maoists), denied involvement of the ultras in the killing, another naxal leader Nikhil released an audio-tape claiming that Banshadhara Divisional Committee of CPI-Maoist had executed the murder.

Claiming to be the secretary of Bansadhara Divisional Committee, Nikhil also raised questions on Panda`s motives and the content of audio messages released by him over the last few days.

Accusing Panda of distancing from the people`s war against the state, Nikhil asked why he was moving around with armed cadre without contributing to the Maoist cause. "We had earlier warned the sarpanch`s husband Deba Bagaranga (40) before killing him. Sabyasachi Panda was also informed about the murder," Nikhil said and questioned the OSOC secretary`s intention in denying Maoists` role in the killing.

Nikhil has reportedly been operating under the leadership of Manoj who has been "deputed by CPI-Maoist" to look after party activities, especially its military missions in Odisha, sources said. "Maoist posters and banners were found near the site of the murder of the sarpanch`s husband on May 22," a senior police officer said, adding that it was surprising as to why Panda denied Maoists` role in the killing.