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Orissa Naxal attack: 17 bodies recovered so far

By Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad
Last updated on: July 04, 2008 17:39 IST
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The toll in Sunday's Maoist attack on a launch carrying Greyhound commandos in Malkangiri district of Orissa is expected to reach 35, police officials said on Friday.

Seven bodies, in a highly decomposed condition, were found by the search team on Friday, but only three of them could be identified.

The number of bodies recovered from a reservoir on the Andhra-Orissa border so far has reached 17.

Meanwhile, with a heavy-duty crane from Kakinada port reaching the scene of the incident, the efforts to salvage the sunken launch have gained momentum.

Akun Sabharwal, Visakhapatnam district superintendent of police, expressed hope that the search operation will be completed by Saturday as with the retrieval of the launch, all bodies will also be recovered.

With the efforts on to salvage the launch, the bodies were coming out and emerging on the surface of the reservoir.

"The bodies are in such a condition that if we try to remove them, their limbs are coming off," said one of the members of the search team.

After nearly six days under water, the bodies are swollen and stinking, making their removal difficult. The bodies, fully covered in cloth and packed in coffins, are being sent to Visakhapatnam in the helicopters.

As there are apprehensions that the bodies may be carried away by the strong flow in the Sileru river, helicopters are also being used to keep an eye on the downstream areas.

Only three of the seven bodies found on Friday could be identified. They include Reserve Sub Inspector Durga Prasad from Vijaywada,Yellamandaiah from Guntur and Sudhakar Reddy from Guntur.

On Thursday three bodies were recovered. They were identified as Sub Inspector Shankar Rao, Greyhounds Constable Salahuddin from Mehbubnagar and Constable Ranjan Kumar Kora of Orissa.

Sub Inspector Shankar Rao was cremated with all state honours on Friday at his native place in Srikakulam district.

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Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad