Bhubaneswar: Claiming that five 'Maoists' killed in November 14 encounter were innocent persons, Odisha Maovadi Party headed by Sabyasachi Panda called a state-wide bandh in protest against the incident on November 20.
    
"Five innocent persons were killed by police in cold blood. They were not our cadres. All our members including myself are safe," Panda said in an audio tape handed over to journalists here by an unidentified tribal who claimed that he had come from the village where Panda was currently hiding.
    
Calling a state-wide bandh on November 20 in protest against the incident, Panda demanded Rs 10 lakh compensation for family members of each deceased at Bhaliaguda in the tri-junction of Ganjam-Gajapati-Kandhamal districts.
       
Meanwhile, DGP Prakash Mishra told reporters in Cuttack that police would continue the search operation to capture the fugitive guerrilla who had escaped during the encounter.
    
"Yes, police have intensified their search operation to apprehend Panda and others who escaped from the encounter site. The operation will continue till the state's most wanted guerrillas are caught," Mishra said.
    
About 300 jawans belonging to CRPF, Special Operation Group (SOG) and District Voluntary Force (DVF) are on the search for Panda and his associates since November 14. The search team stumbled upon a Maoist camp in Kotgarh area in Kandhamal district yesterday and recovered some arms and explosives, a senior police officer said.
    
"This time we are optimistic to capture Panda and his associates. Their hide-out has been located. But we think he is surrounded by people," another senior police officer said.
    
Panda floated OMP after being expelled from the CPI (Maoist) in August this year.

 (Agencies)

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