Interview: Odisha prepared to tackle Maoist activities during polls, DGP

Maoists are confined to core areas in Boudh, Kandhamal and Kalahandi districts of Odisha

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  5 April 2024 4:31 AM GMT
Interview: Odisha prepared to tackle Maoist activities during polls, DGP

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Police are ready to counter any Maoist activity during the elections, DGP Arun Sarangi said.

In an interview to PTI-Video, he said Maoist activities have substantially reduced in the last few years.

"During the last elections in 2019, there were 20 Maoist-affected districts in Odisha. The number has come down to 10 in this election," he said.

"Maoists along the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border have withdrawn to Chhattisgarh, but they might create disturbances during the elections," he said.

Maoists in the state are confined to core areas in Boudh, Kandhamal and Kalahandi districts, and the police have made elaborate security arrangements and operational plans to counter Maoist activities, if those increase during the election period, he said.

"Anti-Maoist operations are underway. Recently, we have neutralised a divisional committee commander and seized explosive materials," the DGP said.

On election preparedness along the inter-state border areas, he said 15 police districts of Odisha share borders with neighbouring West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.

"We have already held inter-state cooperation meetings with Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh, while we will have a meeting with West Bengal very soon," he said.

During the meetings, discussions were held on issues related to border security, the movement of various elements that may disturb the election process, and the movement of cash, illicit liquor, and narcotic drugs.

Odisha has already set up 118 check posts along different borders.

"We have our longest inter-state boundary with Chhattisgarh and that area is affected by Maoist activities. So, our discussion was mostly around the exchange of intelligence and operational coordination, joint anti-Maoist operations, and how to counter the movement and infiltration of Maoists to either side," the DGP said.

Similar discussions were held with Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh authorities as well, he said.

"We are emphasising cooperation from the lower level to the level of DGP with these states so that the elections are held smoothly, peacefully and fairly, allowing a level playing field for everyone during the polls," Sarangi said.

When asked about steps taken to check fake news, he said a special cell under the leadership of an IGP has been formed to deal with it.

"We are keeping a close watch on social media and the contents shared in it. If we find any content that may affect public peace and security, we will take strong action," he added.

Odisha will vote for its 147-member assembly along with 21 Lok Sabha seats in four phases, beginning on May 13.

(Inputs from PTI)

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