Bhubaneswar, May 20: Top Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda, who has been pushed on the ropes by security forces, today accused the state government of going back on its word and threatened to retaliate if the targeted operation against him was not halted immediately.
In an audio tape, released to the media, Panda, state organising secretary of the CPI (Maoist) said the government had mounted Operation Sabyasachi even though his group had kept its promise of refraining from violence.
“The government has not kept its word. Operation Sabyasachi has been stepped up and innocent people in Rayagada and Bargarh are also being harassed,” said the rebel chief, threatening to resort to “revolutionary violence” if the operation against him continued.
Sources said the latest audio tape from Panda reflected his growing desperation as security forces, now armed with vital information about his cadre strength and weapons stock, were closing in on him.
The first major offensive against the rebel leader was mounted on April 27, when one of his camps near Paniamba in the Sorada police station area of Ganjam district, was destroyed in a raid. The raid also led to seizure of some detonators, apart from a generator set and laptop belonging to Panda.
A few days later, one of his most trusted bodyguards, Prashant Majhi alias Sushant, laid down arms before Gajapati superintendent of police Sarthak Sarangi. Prashant told his interrogators that Panda, himself, was contemplating surrender as he perceived a threat to his life having incurred wrath of the Maoist leaders, who controlled the organisation in southern Odisha.
Senior police officers said Panda had alienated the leaders of Odisha-Andhra Pradesh Border Special Zonal Committee that controlled the area stretching from Koraput to Rayagada by abducting Italian nationals Paulo Bosusco and Claudio Coangelo in March without taking them into confidence.
“While they are gunning for him, he is also losing support within his own group. Nikhil, one of his most trusted lieutenants, is now leading his own group,” said a senior police officer.
Sources said that constantly chased by the security forces, Panda’s area of operation was also getting progressively squeezed and he was confined within a 90-km stretch extending from Sorada in Ganjam to Brahmanigaon in Kandhamal district. The rebel leader now resembled a trapped animal with a company of the CRPF being posted at Gajalbadi between Sorada and Daringbadi to further limit his options.