Nayagarh violence: Toll touches 15

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Bhubaneswar, Feb 17: A strong force of over 800 security personnel comprising 200 specially trained Greyhound, Special Operation Group commandos, CRPF and OSAP Jawans have encircled the fleeing naxalites atop the Kupari hill bordering Ganjam district.

A fierce encounter is still continuing with the 200 strong Naxalites involved in late last night's ghastly massacre of 14 police personnel and one civilian at Nayagarh,about 90 kms from here The armed naxalites who had looted huge arms and ammunition during their two hours long operation from the armory of the Reserve police and Police Training School are unable to proceed beyond Gasama as all the exit points had been sealed by the forces.

The Indian Air Force has rushed two Chetak choppers to the combing operation site to help the Orissa government track down the naxalites taking shelter inside the dense forest atop a hill.This was for the first time that IAF helicopters would be used in the anti naxal operation in the country.

The choppers,official sources would make sorties to track the hide out of the naxalites taking shelter inside the forest.More forces from the neighbouring districts also rushed to the site and the authority had sounded a red alert in all the naxalite infested areas and strengthened the security measures in all the police stations and armory located in the naxalite prone districts.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who air dashed Nayagarh this morning for a quick assessment of the situation,chaired a review meeting in the state secretariat with senior police officials and ordered intensive combing operation to flush out the naxalites from their hideouts.

Report reaching here tonight said the naxalites had blasted the private bus which they had hijacked from Nayagarh after looting the arms from the armory, inside the forest.

The Orissa government had announced ex gratia of Rs.4 lakh to the next kins of the 14 police men killed in the attack and Rs.2 lakh to next kin of a lone civilian succumbed to the bullet of the naxalites.

The next of kin of the deceased police personnel would be paid insurance coverage of Rs.10 lakh and one of their family member would be provided with suitable government job.At least six policemen injured in the incident had been shifted to SCAB Medical College and Hospital as their condition deteriorated.

The incident rocked the Orissa Assembly with the Opposition holding the state government responsible for the mayhem,disrupted the business of the house and demanded resignation of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

Though normalcy has returned to Niagara town,yet the panicked people preferred to remain indoor and three companies of CRPF had been deployed at the strategic points to instill confidence among the residents of area.

Senior police officials including Superintendent's of Police of Nayagarh, Gajapati, Ganjam and Berhampur districts have rushed to supervise the joint combing operation.

UNI

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