Bhubaneswar, Feb 21: The success of Orissa police in raiding naxal hideouts and containing violence to a significant extent triggered the recent attack by the ultras in Nayagarh, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik informed the state Assembly today.
Replying to the admissibility of an adjournment motion brought by the Opposition, which was later admitted by Speaker Maheswar Mohanty,the chief minister claimed that the naxal violence profile in the state remained much less compared to the neighbouring affected states like Chhatisgarh,Jharkhand,Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. Giving a comparative figure,Mr.Patnaik said 23 persons were killed in the Dantewada incident in July last, 54 police personnel were killed in Rani Bodi of Chhatisgarh while former Chief Minister Babulal Marandi's son was killed in Chilkhari incident in Jharkhand.
''But in Orissa only 13 civilians and two security personnel were lost in the Naxalite attack during the year,'' he said.
The chief minister said while 52 incidents involving 15 deaths were reported in Orissa during 2007,Chhatisgarh reported 538 incidents in which 180 security personnel and 170 civilians were killed and in Jharkhand 139 civilians and 11 security personnel lost their lives in as many as 421 incidents.
The February 15: Nayagarh incident in which the ultras killed 16 people, was the outcome of pro active security and administrative measures taken by the Orissa police to combat the naxalite menace.
Mr.Patnaik said the security forces conducted raids in naxal hideouts and engaged the rebels on 19 occasions in which seven hardcore ultras were killed. As many as 121 naxal activists, including five hardcore ones, were arrested and 34 firearms, 40 Improvised Explosive Devices and a large quantity of detonators and other explosive materials recovered during anti-naxalite operation.
The chief minister said the security forces also busted an arms manufacturing unit of the naxalites besides, few camps and hideouts. Despite threat from the left wing ultras,the election to the local bodies in last February were conducted smoothly in the naxal affected areas.
He further said the naxal violence could be contained largely due to proactive measures in Sambalpur-Deogarh belt,Malkangiri and Rayagada region and the Gajapati district. At least six hardcore naxals surrendered and a few others were rescued from the militants and rehabilitated suitably.
Mr.Patnaik said earlier this year the security forces had arrested 25 cadres and activists, including top ranking leader Anna Reddy alias Ananda Chandra of CPI(ML).
The security forces also recovered 7 firearms, four IEDs,12 detonators and 75 gelatin sticks besides, a large quantity of naxalite literature.
On the Naxalite attack at Nayagarh in which 16 people, including 15 police personnel were killed,the chief minister said the combing operations were launched and all probable routes of the militants were sealed.
The combing operation,he said, were continuing and two hardcore naxalites, including an area commander were arrested.
Mr Patnaik said it was the first time that a counter attack of huge magnitude was launched soon after the attack by the naxals in Nayagarh and huge caches of looted arms and ammunition had been recovered from the site of encounter.
The chief minister claimed that the naxalites had suffered several casualties during the massive combing operation but their exact number was being ascertained.
Stating that the brave police forces were at this very moment engaged in a battle of life and death in the jungles with the naxals, Mr.Patnaik said, ''We should rise above other considerations and respect the efforts of the gallant men in the battle''.
''This would be our best tribute to all those who have laid down their lives in this recent struggle against the terrorist,'' the chief minister remarked.