With prominent Maoist leaders like Girish Mahato and explosive expert James among many hardcore ultras housed in different prisons of Odisha, the state government today claimed to have made elaborate arrangement to face possible offensive by the Maoist including jail breaks.
"We have taken up regular security measures. This time we are doing job more carefully. We have tightened security measures for fortifying our prisons," said Home secretary Vipin Kumar Saxena while speaking on the state's preparedness to the threat of the CPI (Maoist) National Secretary Muppala Lakshman Rao (Ganapati) on jail break attempt.
Ganapati asked his comrades to release Maoists leaders and their supporters kept in different prisons of the Maoist affected nine states. "We are alert and ready to counter any probable assault on the state prisons. Normally, we are prepared and now we are taking up more extra precaution," Saxena said. He said the Union Ministry of Home affairs (MHA), meanwhile has alerted nine Left Wing Extremists (LWE) affected states including Odisha in this regard.
Inspector General (prison) Pradeep Kapoor said certain prisons have been identified for upgradation of security arrangements in view of the recent threat. He, however, refused to divulge names of such jails.
Sources said above 150 rebels including about 30 hard-core extremists are lodged in jails at Koraput, Malkangiri, Parlakhemundi, Sambalpur, Berhampur, Nayagarh, Rourkela, Bonai and special jail here. "The State police's Special Security Battalion (SSB), OSAP and other Central forces is ready to face Maoist threat. Our prisons are adequately fortified," said a senior police officer.
DIG Southern Range Amitabh Thakur took stock of situation in prisons of Ganjam and Gajapati and reviewed the arrangements. While Ultras are active in Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada and Nabarangpur, DIG South Western Range, S Dev Datt Singh said "all arrangements have been made in our prisons and forces are ready to face any eventuality." Sources said highest number of Maoists- 59 (56 men and 3 women) have been lodged at Malkangiri jail followed by 43 rebels (42 men and 1 woman) in Koraput jail. Similarly, Bolangir jail housed 23 Maoists followed by 16 at Padmapur sub-jail in Bargarh district. Seven ultras are also kept at Patnagarh jail in Bolangir district.