Two SOG commandos killed in gunfight with Maoists in Kalahandi
Bhubaneswar: Two commandos of Odisha’s elite anti-Naxalite force were killed in a gunfight with Maoists in Kalahandi district in which five left wing extremists were also neutralised, police said on Thursday. The encounter between the Special Operations Group and the Maoists took place in Bhandarangi Sirki forest area on Kalahandi-Kandhamal inter-district border on Wednesday.
The two SOG commandos who lost their lives were identified as Sudhir Kumar Tudu (28) of Mayurbhanj district and Debasis Sethy (27) of Angul. While one of them was fatally injured and later succumbed to his injuries at a hospital, the other commando’s body was found by the forces during combing operations.
Among the Maoists killed in the operation were four women. They belonged to Bansadhara-Ghumsar-Nagabali division of the banned CPI(Maoist). The Maoists could not take away the bodies of their comrades as is their practice and the four bodies were found during the search operations on Wednesday morning and another in the evening, police said.
Six weapons — two self-loading rifles and four country-made guns — were found at the encounter site, according to Kalahandi SP B Gangadhar. The operation was launched by the SOG and the Kalahandi District Voluntary Force following an intelligence input on Tuesday.
Two composite teams of the SOG and DVF were part of the operation. The exchange of fire between the two sides started around 11 am on Wednesday and lasted for about half an hour, the SP added.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, in a twitter message, condoled the death of the two commandos.
Salute to the martyrdom of Debashish Sethy of Angul & Sudhir Kumar Tudu of Mayurbhanj who laid down their lives fighting against left wing extremists. My heartfelt condolences to the families of the martyred jawans. #Odisha will remember the sacrifice of its brave sons.
— Naveen Patnaik (@Naveen_Odisha) September 10, 2020
Minister of State for Home D S Mishra, DGP Abhay, Leader of Opposition P K Naik and senior police officers attended the guard of honor given to the martyrs at Bhawanipatna, the district headquarters of Kalahandi.
The DGP said at least 12 Maoists have been gunned down in a span of two months. While seven rebels were killed in Kandhamal district on three occasions, five have been neutralised in Kalahandi on Wednesday. Stating that Wednesday’s encounter was a big setback for the banned CPI (Maoist), Abhay called upon the rebels to surrender and return to the mainstream.