Three Maoist women arrested in Odisha
Police have arrested three Maoist women from a camp in Odisha's Gajapati District, and recovered a huge cache of arms and ammunition from them.
During a combing operation, police raided a Maoist camp in a forest near Mohana about 300 km away from Bhubaneswar, after which rebels belonging to a breakaway Maoist group called the Odisha Maobadi Party (OMP), which is led by Sabyasachi Panda, were detained.
Deputy Inspector General of Police (Southern Range) Amitabh Thakur confirmed the arrest, and also informed mediapersons about the arms and ammunitions recovered from the Maoist camp.
Thakur also provided information absconding Maoist rebel Sabyasachi Panda.
Local media reports said that an AK-47, two INSAS, four SLRs, three 9mm and two 2mm pistols, one tiffin bomb, 13 magazines and cash worth Rs 10.5 lakh were seized from the possession of the arrested Maoists.
Thakur said: "Sabyasachi Panda had suffered an injury when a bullet pierced through his right thigh. And, our security personnel have further informed us that Panda with maximum two-three others has gone into hiding and they are on a lookout. We are hopeful that within the next two-three days, we will be able to apprehend him."
Panda had floated the OMP in August 2012 after parting with the Communist Party Of India (Marxist),the CPI M, following his open criticism of the parent party's general secretary and supreme commander, Mupala Laxmana Rao alias Ganapathy as "autocratic" and "dictatorial".
Since then, the police have made several unsuccessful attempts to arrest Panda though his strength in his area of operation, covering Rayagada, Gajapati, Kandhamal and Ganjam, has diminished to a large extent.
Maoists are rebels who try to sink deep roots and form links after decades of neglect.
The rebels are rapidly expanding their insurgency and could move from remote rural areas to cities.
Equipped with automatic weapons, shoulder rocket launchers, mines and explosives, the Maoists want to cripple economic activity.
The Maoists, also known as Naxals, have killed police and politicians, and targeted government buildings and railway tracks in an insurgency that has killed thousands since the 1960s.
The Maoists, who say they are fighting for the rights of the poor and landless, control some of India's mineral-rich areas and operate in large swathes of the eastern, central and southern countryside.
The rebels are estimated to number 7000 hardcore fighters in nearly a third of India's 630 districts.
(Posted on 01-03-2014)