20 Naxalites killed in encounter in Orissa

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Bhubaneswar, Feb 17 (UNI) At least 20 Naxalites were killed and the figure is likely to rise further as Orissa government launched an intensive combing operation by encircling the fleeing ultras at various places bordering Kandhmal, Ganjam, Gajapati and Nayagarh districts.

State Home Secretary T K Mishra told newspersons here that the left wing ultras responsible for the Nayagarh mayhem in which 14 police men and a civilian were killed on Friday night, had been holed up during a fierce encounter with a strong contingent of security personnel comprising Greyhound, Special Operation Group, CRPF and OSAP jawans.

He said the joint forces under the direct supervision of Additional Director General of Police (Operation) Manmohan Prahara, had almost zeroed in on the hide-outs of the fleeing ultras.

The intensive combing operation, the Home Secretary said, will continue till ''we come out victorious''. He was, however, very much optimistic that the operation would be completed very soon.

Mr Mishra said National Anti-Naxal Operation Head Kumawat was camping in the state capital for the last two days and personally monitoring the combing operation.

The Home Secretary said he had a talk with the Union Home Secretary yesterday who had assured of all help to deal with the situation. The Centre had dispatched two helicopters and para military forces including the Greyhound jawans which were being pressed in the combing operation.

Sources said the naxalites were virtually trapped inside the forest with all the escape routes being sealed by the police. Under such condition, the ultras would be either killed or captured as they had no option to flee from the area.

About 500 heavily armed Naxalites laid a seize to Nayagarh town on Friday night, about 90 kms from the state capital, and carried out simultaneous attacks on the town police station, district armoury and Police Training School and looted huge caches of arms and ammunition.

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