Orissa police says rebels breached agreement by taking up arms

Bhubaneswar: Defending coercive action against Maoists, Orissa police on Monday said it had not breached the agreement between mediators and the state government but by the rebels themselves.

"We have not breached the agreement made during the hostage crisis in February. The state government had agreed that it would not take any coercive action unless the extremists indulge in any unlawful activities. But they were found indulging in them," Director General of Police in-charge Anup Patnaik told reporters here.

Patnaik, who was replying to a question on allegations by the three mediators, said contrary to the agreement the Maoists were roaming with fire arms and issuing threats to blow up gram panchayat and school buildings. They were also conducting training camps in jungles which were 'totally unacceptable and amounted to illegal activities'.

Referring to yesterday's killing of a woman Maoist in an encounter in Malkangiri district, the DGP in-charge said it was the ultras who opened fire on security personnel who then retaliated.

"If the Maoists indulge in violence we have every right to defend ourselves. In an encounter, the security personnel need to go all out. Killing of the woman maoist in Malkangiri is the result of an encounter," he said.

The Maoist-selected mediators G Hargopal, R S Rao and Dandapani Mohanty had written in a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik last week expressing displeasure over the combing operation against Maoists in certain parts of the state.

The three mediators and the secretaries to home and panchayati raj departments had agreed on certain points in February to ensure the safe release of Malkangiri collector R Vineel Krishna and junior engineer Pabitra Majhi.

Following the release of the two men, the state government stopped the combing operation against rebels for over one month. But it later started taking action against ultras as they were found instigating violence, a senior home department official said.