Nayagarh violence death toll rises

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Bhubaneswar, Feb 17: Several naxalites were reportedly killed during a fierce encounter with security forces on Kupari hill bordering Ganjam district.

A strong posse of security personnel drawn from Greyhound, Special Operation Group, CRPF and OSAP zeroed-in-on the ultras during a combing operation launched in the wake of Friday's audacious naxalite raid on various police stations, the Police Training School and the district armoury in Nayagarh. As many as 13 policemen were killed in the Friday's attack. Orissa Home Secretary Tarun Kanti Mishra today said here that there has been a heavy casualty on the naxalites side during the last night encounter but refused to divulge the details.

He said three policemen engaged in the combing operation were also found missing after the encounter, which continued for the second day today, between the forces and over 300 strong ultras, who were virtually trapped inside the forest and unable to proceed beyond Gasama as all the exit points were sealed by the securitymen.

Further reports said the rebels last night blow up a private bus, which they had hijacked from Nayagarh after looting the arms from the district armoury, inside the forest.

A senior police official said additional reinforcements from Gajapati, Ganjam, Koraput, Phulbani and Nayagarh were rushed to the site and a red alert has been sounded in all the naxal-dominated areas to keep a strong vigil on the movement of the left wing ultras Senior police officials, including Superintendent of Police of Nayagarh, Gajapati, Ganjam and Berhampur were supervising the joint combing operation.

About 500 heavily armed Naxalites laid a seige to Nayagarh town on Friday, 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. Before the Nayagarh operation, the ultras, who entered from Daspalla side also attacked the police station and set it ablaze after killing a civilian there.

On their return from Nayagarh, the militants attacked the Nuagaon police station, Mahipur and Chandeli police outpost and set them on fire.

The insurgents, who proceeded to Gasama yesterday, after blowing up the Gallery police outpost were not able to proceed beyond Gasama as there was no road link to Kandhamal district, police here said.

There was no escape route from Gasama in Kandhamal district, 14 km from Gallery police outpost except coming back to the same place, police sources said.

UNI

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