Pandemonium in Orissa assembly over Maoist attack

February 16th, 2008 - 3:20 pm ICT by admin  

Bhubaneswar, Feb 16 (IANS) The Orissa assembly was adjourned Saturday for two hours after the opposition vociferously protested the Maoist attack on police establishments in Nayagarh district that killed at least 14 people. Speaker Maheswar Mohanty adjourned the assembly at 10.30 a.m. after the Congress led opposition created a pandemonium, demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

Opposition members alleged that the law and order situation in the state had worsened under Patnaik, who is also the home minister.

Rajesh Kumar, the Nayagarh district police chief, told IANS that more than 500 armed Maoists simultaneously attacked three police stations, a government armoury, a police training centre, and some police posts Friday night.

A group of rebels, including some women guerrillas, attacked the district police headquarter at Nayagarh, about 85 km from here, as well as a nearby armoury and police training centre at about 10.30 p.m.

Other groups of Maoists barged into police stations at nearby Daspalla and Nuagaon towns, attacked policemen and looted weapons, Kumar said.

While the Maoist virtually lay siege on Nayagarh town for more than three hours, they continued their attack in other places till early Saturday.

“They have looted a large quantity of arms and ammunitions during their raids that continued for more than three hours,” Kumar said.

He added that at least 14 people, including 13 policemen, were killed during the shootout between policemen and Maoists. Four people were injured; two of them are said to be critical.

The rebels had also sealed all the entry and exit points of the town to prevent the movement of vehicles during their operation. They even sealed the entry to the district police chief’s residence.

The chief minister visited the affected area Saturday and announced compensation of Rs.1 million each for the families of the policemen who were killed by armed rebels and Rs.200,000 for the family of the civilian who died in the crossfire.

He also announced that the government would bear the medical expenses of all the injured.

A high alert has been sounded across the state and hundreds of armed policemen as well as paramilitary forces have been sent to the affected regions.

A home department official said the attack is suspected to be the handiwork of Maoist leader Sabysachi Panda because he hails from Nayagarh district.

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