In a major breakthrough, the police in Odisha’s Malkangiri district have arrested 12 Maoists accused of killing 11 tribals, who they branded as police informants, a charge which the police have denied.
In 2017, the Malkangiri district has witnessed the deaths of 11 tribal, the latest being on 19th December, when a tribal farmer named Sadhu Khemundu was battered to death in the region by Maoists.
As per Jagmohan Meena, the SP of the region, after the killings, the police had intensified combing operations in Maoist infested areas of Kalimela, Tulsi and Nakakamudi in the district. As a result of which, they managed to arrest these 12 Maoists from their jungle dens or houses.
Meena described the Maoists as “hardcore militants” and claimed that the police was verifying whether they were involved in other cases as well.
Such a success comes a few months after as many as 18 Maoists were killed in a joint counter-insurgency operation in Tondamarka area of Sukma district of Chhattisgarh. The counter-insurgency operation named ‘Prahaar’ was conducted by Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) and Special Task Force (STF) of Chhattisgarh Police and District Reserve Guard (DRG) of Chhattisgarh.
This practice of Maoists murdering civilians after branding them as informants, has been an almost regular affair over the years.
To named a few:
In 2016 it was reported that a man named Sanjeet Kumar Rathod from Sukma district in Chhattisgarh, was killed by left wing extremists over charges of him being a police informant. After his murder, the Maoists’ Jagargunda area committee issued a statement claiming that the deceased continued to provide the party’s information to the police despite being warned.
In 2014 too, Maoists had killed a headman of a tribal village in Koraput district of Odisha over similar charges of him being a police informant, though the police denied such a connection.