Orissa on high alert after Naxal attack

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Nayagarh, Feb 16: The Government of Orissa today declared a red alert across the State and ordered an intensive search operation for Naxals involved in the killing of thirteen police personnel, two women, and a civilian in Nayagarh late on Friday night.

At least 600 CRPF personnel and two Indian Air Force helicopters have been deployed for the operation, State Government sources said. The Union Home Minister Shivraj patil has condemned the Naxal attack in Orissa. He said that the Central Home Ministry is in constant touch with the State Government, which has been asked to take immediate action against the culprits. A high level team of para-military forces and other central security agencies has been sent to Orissa. After Friday's attack, Orissa's borders with Chattisgarh, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand have been sealed.

Orissa's Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today said that around 500-armed naxals had carried out the attack in Nayagarh. "A group of some 500 Naxals, including women cadres, with bombs and firearms raided the police training school, the district police station and the armoury at around 10:45 p m," Superintendent of Police, Rajesh Kumar, said.

"Four policemen were also injured in the gunbattle that continued till around 12:15 a m," he added.

One of the policemen killed in the attacks has been identified as Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) Nandpani Misra.

The injured are being treated at the SCG Medical College in Cuttack.

The Naxalites also reportedly looted the Nayagarh Armory and the police training school and made away with a large cache of arms and ammunition.

Before launching the attack, the Naxals announced that they would not harm the public, as their target was the police.

According to sources, the Naxals were speaking in Hindi and Telugu, and therefore, could be from Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.

This is the second major incident of Naxal attack on the police in the last two years.

On March 24, 2006, over 500 heavily armed Maoists, including a large number of women, swooped down on Orissa's R Udayagiri town in Gajapati District, and freed 40 prisoners.

IAF Choppers in Orissa to search Naxals

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has rushed helicopters to Nayagarh area in Orissa to track down the naxals responsible for killing 13 policemen and one civilian in a late night attack, sources said today.

They said the IAF rushed its two Chetak helicopters to Nayagarh area in Orissa from Hyderabad to track down the naxals.

The sources said a task force, headed by an Air Commodore, has also been formed to monitor the ''mission'' and help the Orissa government in this regard.

They said a massive search operation has been launched in the area to nab the naxals.

The sources said the IAF choppers would provide the air support to about 600 security personnel who had already fanned out in the jungles to encounter the fleeing armed naxals.

This was for the first time that IAF helicopters were being used in any anti-naxal operation in the country.

About 500 armed naxals carried out the attack on police stations, police training school and the district armoury at Nayagarh town, about 130 km from Bhubaneshwar, late last night.


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