Orissa police probing lapses leading to Sunday landmine blast


Bhubaneswar : Senior Orissa police officials Monday began a probe into allegations that a security lapse led to the killing of at least 10 police personnel in a landmine blast triggered by Maoist guerrillas in a forest Sunday.

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“The standard operating procedure (SOP) was not followed in this case. We are probing to know what prompted them to go on a vehicle,” said Prakash Mishra, the director of the intelligence wing of police.

According to the SOP, there should not be a large movement of forces in vehicles. The troops should move on foot in Maoist-affected areas, a police official said.

“It is a clear violation of the SOP leading to such a large number of casualties. There was no clear direction from seniors,” said Padmanava Behera, president of Orissa Constable Association.

“We reiterate our demand for using choppers for movement of troops as the entire area is strewn with landmines,” he told IANS.

The guerrillas Sunday detonated a powerful landmine and blew up a police bus in a hilly and forest area, 14 km from Baipariguda town in Koraput district, some 540 km from here.

A rescue team member said they have recovered at least nine dead bodies from the spot and fear the casualties could go up to 11 as the whereabouts of two more personnel were yet to be ascertained.

Police said the rebels detonated the landmine when a large number of the state police’s Special Operation Group (SOG) personnel were going in three vehicles.