The martyrs were identified as Sudhir Kumar Tudu (28) and Debashish Sethy (27), both commandos of the special operation group (SOG), a specialized anti-Naxal force of the state police.
Chief minister Naveen Patnaik expressed his condolences. “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 tweeted.
Salute to the martyrdom of Debashish Sethy of Angul & Sudhir Kumar Tudu of Mayurbhanj who laid down their lives fig… https://t.co/h67Udao2QZ
— Naveen Patnaik (@Naveen_Odisha) 1599728316000
Director general of police (DGP) Abhay among other senior police officers rushed to Kalahandi on Thursday and paid homage to the martyred SOG jawans. “We are proud of our brave hearts. They attained martyrdom while fighting bravely with the Maoists. They exhibited exemplary courage. This is the reason why we hold our head high today. We salute them,” Abhay said. Abhay along with intelligence director R K Sharma and IG (operations) Amitabh Thakur later took stock of the anti-Maoist strategies in Kalahandi.
Death of the two cops is this year’s first casualty from the side of the state police while combating left-wing extremism (LWE).
Till filing of the report, the identities of the five suspected Maoists, who were killed in the exchange of fire on Wednesday, were not ascertained. The deceased included four women. “We have managed to find out names of two of the deceased. But we are further verifying their details. They are suspected to be members of Bansadhara- Ghumusar-Nagavali (BGN) division,” another police officer said.
Left-wing extremism (LWE) related violence has significantly declined in the state in the last few years. At least 13 Maoists have so far been killed in different districts this year. Casualties of suspected Maoists stood at 19 in 2018 and 8 in 2019. Wednesday’s exchange of fire was the third major anti-Maoist operation in the state in the last two months. Five suspected Maoists, including two women were gunned down in Kandhamal district on July 5. The security personnel again killed two suspected left-wing extremists in a forest of Tumudibandha area in Kandhamal district on July 23.