Chidambaram visits Orissa amid Maoist violence


Bhubaneswar : Maoist guerrillas Thursday blew up a railway building and damaged three mobile phone towers in Orissa’s Koraput, hours before Home Minister P. Chidambaram visited the district to review security preparedness, officials said.

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At least 125 villages in the district have been cut off from the rest of the state since June 16 after Maoists rebels felled more than 30 trees on three roads that connect the region to the district headquarters of Koraput, some 500 kms from here.

Chidambaram arrived in Koraput in the evening and “visited district armory”, a district police official told IANS. He held discussions with top state police and security officials.

Hours before his arrival, rebels destroyed the control rooms of three mobile phone towers and blasted a railway station building at Kakiriguma village, some 45 km from the district headquarters of Koraput, district police chief Deepak Kumar told IANS.

According to an East Coast Railway official, five to six Maoists came to the Kakiriguma railway station early Thursday and forcibly took away the station manager and other staff on duty some distance away.

“They blew up the railway station building. As a result, two battery rooms, a panel board and the relay room of the railway station got severely damaged,” ECR spokesman M.D. Sahu said, adding no railway official was injured.

“There is no communication with the station from railway control room. Some trains on the route have been terminated and a few cancelled,” Sahu said.

The tribal-populated Koraput district is considered a Maoist stronghold.

In another incident, rebels Wednesday attacked a government office at Narayan Patna – about 60 km away from Kakiriguma and destroyed the office records. They also looted computers, vehicles and food materials, the police officer said.

Officials say the Wednesday and Thursday attacks may be a reaction to the government ban on the Communist Party of India-Maoist.

Chidambaram is expected to visit the bauxite mine of Nalco near Damanjodi Friday. He is scheduled to visit the district of Kandhamal where communal conflict last year killed at least 38 people.

He is expected to meet Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik the same day before leaving for Delhi.