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Three jawan killed in encounter with Naxalites in Orissa

Written by: Staff

Berhampur, Orissa, Mar 24: Heavily armed Naxalites swooped down on the small town of R Udaygiri early this morning, gunning down three jawans and injuring two.

Over 200 armed Naxalites took over the town and went on rampage, attacking the Police station, Sub-jail, OSAP camp, Police barrack, Treasury office, Tahasil office, Inspection Bungalow and other government establishments.

While they shot dead two jawans, kidnapped the Officer-in- Charge of R Udayagiri police station and Jail Superintendent after attacking the jail with bomb and releasing altogether 37 inmates.

Police said three jawans were injured during an exchange of fire with the naxalites.

The encounter continued for more than three hours.

One of them identified as Rajesh Ekka succumbed to his wounds at the MKCG Medical College and Hospital.

The heavily armed ultras, including about 30 ladies clad in khaki uniform, swung into action and stormed in group R Udayagiri police station, police barrack, Treasury, Sub-Jail, Telephone Exchange, Fire Station and other government establishments located within a radius of one km in groups.

Police said the whereabouts of the kidnapped OIC of R Udayagiri police station Ranjan Kumar Mallick and Jailor Rabindra Narayan Sethi were yet to be ascertained. The Maoists stormed the police station in the morning and dragged the police officer out of his office. Thereafter, they dragged the Jailor from his official residence, and escaped from the spot using both of them as cover from police firing.

They also looted all the rifles and the ammunition from the police barracks and the police station, set ablaze the Treasury office, and destroyed a mobile phone tower.

The ultras attacked the Sub-Jail and opened the main gate to allow the prisoners to flee. As many as 31 prisoners, lodged in the jail, escaped except one who expressed his unwillingness to flee, police said.

There were at least three Maoist supporters, lodged inside the Sub -Jail as under trial prisoners, also fled from the jail.

Gajapati Collector Binod Bihari Mohanty, who was staying inside the Inspection Bunglow (IB) at R Udayagiri, escaped when the maoists attacked the place. The Maoists also ransacked the IB after the Collector fled from the scene.

Police claimed that at least four ultras were killed during the encounter but they could not seize the bodies as the naxalites fled in two mini trucks with the bodies.

The Maoists, who blocked both the entry points of R Udayagiri by cutting tree logs, came from the Chelligada side and escaped towards Parimala under Nuagada block, according to the local people.

They put posters near the police station, Tahasil office, Telephone Exchange, Sub-Jail and other government establishments and left behind some leaflets urging Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to stop the massacre of the Maoists, release the Maoist supporters from the jail and stop police oppression on the poor.

The shops were closed and the residents preferred to remain indoor throughout the day.

Additional reinforcement were rushed to the site and all efforts were being made to free the kidnapped officials from the naxalites, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik told the State Assembly in Bhubaneswar.


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