The vigil has also been stepped up in border districts because police suspect that Ramakrishna, who heads the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh Border Zonal Committee of CPI (Maoist), could be hiding in this area as well. If they succeed in catching him, it would be a huge success.
Security has been beefed up along Odisha – Chhatisgarh border following the killing of a dozen CRPF personnel in the Sukma district of the neighbouring state. Sukma is close to Odisha, specially the rebel-dominated Malkangiri district.
Sources said there was mounting apprehension about rebels from Chhatisgarh sneaking into Odisha in the wake of the recent ambush in Sukma. Maoists in Odisha and Chhatisgarh have been operating in tandem for past sometime and keep crossing the border frequently.
What is even more important is the fact that CPI(Maoist) central committee member, Ramakrishna, who the police suspect was injured in an encounter with security forces in Malkangiri district a few months ago, is a highly respected figure among the rebels of Chhatisgarh and also helps them form strategy for big operations.
Malkangiri superintendent of police, Mitrabhanu Mohapatra is hopeful of catching Ramakrishna, who is believed to be carrying injuries and hiding in one of the forest villages on Odisha-Chhatisgarh border. Mohapatra has said time and again that catching this elusive rebel commander remains one of the prime objectives of the anti-Maoist operation in Malkangiri district.
Sources said with combing operation along Odisha-Chhatisgarh border intensified the chances of nabbing Ramakrishna, whose son Munna was killed in the Malkangiri encounter, have brightened. Apart from state police, jawans of BSF deployed in Koraput and Malkangiri and the district voluntary force have been drafted in to step up the search in forests for rebels believed to be hiding there.
“The vigil has also been stepped up in Koraput district which share borders both with Chhatisgarh and Andhra Pradesh because we suspect that Ramakrishna, who heads the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh Border Zonal Committee of CPI (Maoist), could be hiding in this area as well. If we succeed in catching him, it would be a huge success,” said a police officer who did not wish to be named.Though police have had some notable successes against the Maoists in the last few years in Koraput and Malkangiri district the rebels are still very active in these areas which have been their old bastions. Only a few months ago they killed about half a dozen Odisha police personnel, mainly drivers, who were going to Angul for training. The vehicle they were travelling in was blown up in Sunki valley of Koraput district. A similar attack had taken place on BSF jawans in the valley in the past. March 16-31, 2017