The killing of 13 policemen by Maoists in Nayagarh in Orissa on Friday night is not just another episode in ultra-Left violence. That 20 insurgents were later killed on Sunday does not “normalize” matters. The fact that Nayagarh is barely 90km from state capital Bhubaneswar is a reason for concern if not an urgent wake-up call.
Unlike Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, where ineptitude has marked the fight against Maoists, Orissa is a relatively better governed state. The late-night ransacking of the district armoury and the pathetic resistance to the insurgents, however, show that it’s no different from the other two states.
The fact that Orissa was provided ample police modernization funds has fuelled charges that the state government was less than enthusiastic in fighting the menace. This does not bode well for Orissa. The state is trying to attract investors to its mineral wealth. Such violent episodes will only make this quest harder.