At 0630hrs today, in an encounter with dist police, an aide of Sabyasachi Panda, Pradip Majhi was gunned down in Karanjia jungle of Mohana PS in Gajpati dist of Odisha. Was said to have links with abduction of Italian tourists in 2011.
Majhi was a relatively newer recruit but was said to be fluent in hindi and english and was thus useful in communications. Informed sources say Majhi, brother of a surrendered Maoist, Akash, had accused his elder brother of ‘betraying the cause’ when he gave himself up. “What is surprising is that Majhi was provided all educational and other facilities by the government and yet he chose this way,” mentioned a senior police officer in Odisha.
With this hit, SS Panda, a Maoist party leader who severed ties with the parent organisation last year becomes more vulnerable. It is learnt that not only the police but even members from CPI Maoist are gunning from him. “Certainly his survival is challenged. His influence is diminished in most areas except for Gajpati-Kandhamal belt and a tri junction of districts closeby. Panda thought he will compete with the Naxals when he quit them. But he now realises that it is not so easy,” mentioned an officer. His wife too has been trying to lobby for a lighter punishment for her husband to facilitate his surrender and an entry into the mainstream.