This time Greyhound commandos were hit back by the Maoist insurgents. A boat carrying 60 commandos and a few Orissa police personnel were way led by Maoist on Balimela reservoir in malkangiri district of Orissa-Andhra boarder. The boat capsized when the insurgents opened fire with AK47s, LMGs and even rocket launchers on unarmed commandos on the boat on 29th June’08.
Orissa police sources said that of the 64 on board, only 25 swam to safety, six of them wounded. Andhra police figures were 28 survived and 36 missing. Four seriously wounded commandos were flown to Visakhapatnam for treatment. Police Chief of Vizianagaram said that two navy helicopter has been pressed into service to search the missing commandos in the reservoir. Sources said that a few bodies have so far been found including that of the Commander of the Grayhound group.
Inspector Lakhmoji, who swam to safety, said the Maoist who had taken positions on hillocks on either side of the reservoir caught them unwires. "Without weapons we were sitting ducks on the water for the rebels."
Preliminary investigation revealed utter disregard for safety led to the incident. A senior police official said the commandos ignored the routine procedure of sterilizing the area by an advance party. After three days of combing in the forest the exhausted commandos thought to take a short-cut to their base. The decision cut-short their lives.
A Subramanya Rao, a constable in the crack commando unit and a survivor of the Maoist pounding rued, “I wish I would have taken the land route and had a chance to get at the enemy.
An intelligence official in Andhra said the Maoist has formed a militia last month, with about 100 trained cadres follwing major reverses at the hands of Grayhound commandos in the past six months.
Both Andhra chief minister Y.S.Reddy and home minister K.Jana Reddy visited the spot of attack. The Andhra CM declared compensation package consisting, between Rs. 5 to 10 lakh for every dead commando and a housing plot, a job for one family member, free education for children plus the last salary drawn by the slain men till the time they would have retired.
Please also refer to my article ‘Government to raise special force for communist millitants’ dated 20th June.