Naxal ambush, 36 Greyhound cops still missing

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Bhubaneswar, July 1 (UNI) Even after three days of the bloody Naxalite attack on a Greyhound commando group inside the Chitrakonda reservoir on Orissa-Andhra border, 36 jawans were still missing and feared drowned.

The rescue-search and combing operation launched jointly by the Andhra Pradesh and Orissa police since Sunday and assisted by the Navy and ONGC divers failed to trace any missing jawans so far.

The rescue team could only recover one body from the reservoir yesterday whose hands and legs were found tied.

Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today requested the Centre to send six more companies of CRPF to intensify the combing operation in the area to nab the Naxalites involved in the murderous attack on the Greyhound commandos.

Mr Patnaik said the 36 Greyhound jawans from Andhra Pradesh were still untraced inside the Chitrakonda reservoir and all efforts were on to capture the Naxalites.

Malkangiri Superintendent of Police S K Gojbhiye said only two Insas, one SLR, one LMG and one AK 47 rifle were retrieved from the reservoir by the rescuers.

He said the team had identified the spot in the reservoir where the motorboat carrying the jawans had capsized following exchange of fire adding that the rescue team would search the area tomorrow to retrieve the boat.

The police apprehended that some cops might have been trapped inside the boat as it was overcrowded.

Director General Police of Andhra Pradesh today visited the site of crime where the vessel capsized.

Jawans from the Special Operation Group(SOG) from Orissa, Greyhound cops from Andhra Pradesh, CRPF personnel, divers from the Navy and ONGC were engaged in the rescue and search operation for the third day today.

The rescue team used the latest sonar equipment to trace the missing jawans.

The Greyhound jawans were returning after a combing operation in the cut-off areas on the Orissa-Andhra border when the Naxalites hiding on a hill-top near Alampeka attacked the force with grenades and fired indiscriminately from the LMGs.

The boat could not sustain the heavy exchange of fire and capsized in the reservoir.

Only 29 of the 64 jawans could swim to safety. Fifteen of them, who received bullet injuries, were airlifted to Visakhapatanam for treatment.

Official sources said there had been shortage of essential commodities at Chitrakonda, a small town due to the presence of large number of forces after the incident.

The Malkangiri Collector, has invoked the mandatory requisition of vehicles and lodges in the area for smooth conduct of the search and combing operation.

UNI DP PC PK CS2110

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