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7 Maoists killed in two encounters in Odisha, top cop calls it a ‘Red Letter Day’

Seven Maoists, including two women, were killed in two encounters in Odisha’s Kandhamal and Bolangir districts since Saturday night, with the director general of police RP Sharma calling it a “red letter day”.

The slain Maoists included Badal and Sanjeeb, divisional committee members of Kandhamal-Kalahandi-Boudh-Nayagarh and Bolangir-Bargarh-Mahasamund divisions. Both carried a reward of Rs 5 lakh on their heads.

Following a tip-off about Maoists’ meeting in Godanki village in Sudurukumpa forest of Kandhamal district on Sunday afternoon, the elite Special Operation Group (SOG) and District Voluntary Force (DVF) launched an operation led by SP Prateek Singh at 4pm.

When asked to surrender, the Maoists fired at the security forces, triggering retaliation.

While four bodies were recovered on Sunday night, the next morning one more body was recovered. Among the dead were two women.

Five guns, including an AK-47 and two INSAS rifles, were recovered from the spot.

In western Odisha’s Bolangir district, police personnel shot dead Maoists Sanjeeb and Rakesh in an encounter near Dudukamal village under Belpada block on Saturday night.

Rakesh was an area committee member of the same rebel division and had Rs 4 lakh bounty on his head, said police.

“A red letter day in the history of Odisha Police,” tweeted Odisha DGP RP Sharma after the encounters.

Kandhamal SP Prateek Singh said the death of Badal, who was active in the area since 2004, was a major setback for the Maoists.

The Kandhamal-Kalahandi-Booudh-Nayagarh corridor is important for Maoists as it links the Maoist corridors in Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh, the two states where senior Maoist functionaries are believed to be present.

Meanwhile, in another important move, the ED is investigating the financial sources of several top Maoists leaders operating in Odisha.

Odisha DGP RP Sharma said secretary of CPI (Maoist), Malkangiri division committee Uday, chief of the Srikakulam-Koraput division committee of CPI (Maoist) Aruna, leader of Kalimela Dalam of the CPI (Maoist) Arjun Hantal, and secretary of Kudumulgumma committee of CPI (Maoist) Sudhir are under the scanner of ED.

“Two meetings in connection with Maoist funding have been conducted in Delhi that were attended by authorities of ED, NIA, other financial institutions and officers of Maoist affected states,” said Sharma.

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