Maoist hideout busted in Odisha's LWE stronghold area; arms, ammo seized

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Malkangiri (Odisha), Nov 4 (PTI) Security forces busted a Maoist hideout in a stronghold area of Left-wing extremists (LWE) in Odisha's Malkangiri district bordering Andhra Pradesh, and recovered arms and ammunition from the camp, the police said on Wednesday.

The seized items included two Self-Loading Rifles (SLR), one .303 rifle, one improvised explosive device (IED), nine 7.62 SLR rounds, magazines and several documents.

'We are suspecting that these arms and ammunition belonged to the Maoists cadres of Andhra-Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee (AOBSZC) and they were intended to be used against innocent civilians and security forces,' the Malkangiri district police said in a release.

Following a tip-off, personnel of the Odisha and Andhra Pradesh and the BSF conducted searches in the Swabhiman Anchal (cut-off area), a Maoist stronghold region of the district, this week and unearthed the hideout.

However, nobody was found in the camp.

'This operation has enabled setting up of Gurasethu BSF Company Operating Base (COB) in the heartland of the erstwhile cut-off area,' the release said.

The cut-off area under Chitrakonda block of Malkangiri, which is encircled by the Balimela reservoir from three sides and has a dense forest connecting Andhra Pradesh on another side, was considered as a den of Maoists ever since they spread their network in the mid-1990s.

Gurasethu, along with Panasput, in the cut-off area was known as the 'ideological headquarters' of the Maoists.

The state police earned accolades for the operation from the top level of the government.

'Congratulate @odisha_police for advancing to Panasput/Gurasetu in Swabhiman Anchal, a Maoist stronghold.

The successful reclamation of left wing heartland will reassure people of the region and facilitate accelerated socio-economic development,' the Chief Minister's Office tweeted.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in July 2018 inaugurated a key bridge over a river in the cut-off area and gave it a new name - Swabhiman Anchal. Around 150 villages are there in the region.

In another tweet, Chief Secretary A K Tripathy said, 'In a significant development Odisha police & BSF solidly advanced upto Panasput/Gurasetu in Swabhiman anchal and BSF will now maintain a camp here. This happened to be the ideological HQs of the Maoist until recently. People in the area are joyous. Congrats Odisha police & BSF !!' PTI COR AAM NN NN