Orissa seeks five more CRPF companies,huge looted arms seized

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Bhubaneswar, Feb 18 (UNI) Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today requested Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil to send five more companies of CRPF as combing operation against hundreds of armed Naxalites was further intensified to apprehend the ultras, involved in the killing of 18 people, including 17 police personnel, at Nayagarh.

Mr Patnaik said he spoke to the Union Home Minister, who agreed to send 500 CRPF jawans to the state to join the ongoing combing operation, one of its biggest in the history of encounter against the Naxals in Orissa, launched in the borders of Ganjam and Phulbani for the past three days following the Nayagarh killings.

The Chief Minister said there had been a substantial casualty on the side of the Naxalites and the details of the casualties were being collected.

State Home Secretary T K Mishra and Director General of Police Gopal Nanda had earlier told newspersons that about 20 Naxalites had been killed and the number was likely to rise further as the naxalites had been encircled by the forces and all their escape routes sealed.

Making a statement in the State Assembly, which witnessed pandemonium for the second day today as the Opposition insisted on discussing their motion on the Naxalite issue, the Chief Minister said this morning the Greyhound, Special Operation Group and CRPF had seized a huge cache of arms and ammunition, left behind by the Naxals near Gosma, where they were holed up after the Nayagarh operation.

Mr Patnaik said about 40 per cent of the weapons and 50 per cent of the ammunition, looted by the naxalites, had been recovered so far, and an intensive combing operation was in progress in the area.

He told the Assembly that the groups of Naxals would be apprehended shortly.

The Chief Minister said police along with the Greyhound, SOG and CRPF had rummaged through the jungles of Bhanjanagar, Tarasingh, Sorada and gallery area and sighted a major group at Gosama.

He said offensive action was undertaken in the Gosama leading to severe firing from both sides, and in the encounter yesterday three policemen were killed, but the naxalites suffered heavy casualties.

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