CRPF personnel, police official injured in Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh
A security personnel from Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and a police official got injured in a Maoist attack that occurred in Sukma block of Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada District.
Anil Tondon and Ashok Yadav, the two who got injured have been admitted in Ram Krishna Hospital.
The attack took place about 100 meters away from a police camp.
“The Maoists attacked us when we went to the market to fetch vegetables,” said Anil Tondon, the police official who was injured in the incident.
According to the hospital authorities, the condition of Ashok Yadav who received head injuries and a fracture is stated to be critical.
“The CRPF personnel received more injuries. We hope his condition to be stable after some preliminary treatment,” said Ajhar Jargar, official, Ram Krishna Hospital. By Shiv Shankar Sarathi (ANI)
Maoists told freed policemen to quit their jobs
After twelve nerve-wracking days, the Chhattisgarh police held a press conference in Raipur to confirm the safe return of Sukluram Bhagat, Narendra Khosle, Subhash Patra and B. Toppo who were abducted by the Maoists.
On September 19, seven policemen were captured by the Maoists as they travelled between Bhopalpatnam and Bhadrakali in the forests of Bijapur district.
While the corpses of three policemen were found the next day, the fate of the remaining four remained uncertain till late on Thursday night when they arrived at a police camp in Dantewada district.
A pregnant woman, Kursam Jyoti who was travelling with her brother Krishna Erpa, was also reported missing. Police said Ms. Jyoti was freed a few days ago and she had returned to her village.
Police sources said one of the conditions set for the release was that all the four men would resign from the police service. It is understood that four local television journalists escorted the men back to safety.
At his press conference, Director General of Police Vishwarajan sought to dispel some of the confusion surrounding the hostage crisis.
Clarifying that the freed policemen were yet to be debriefed after their ordeal, Mr. Vishwaranjan said the Maoist demands suggested that the men had been abducted by lower-level cadres, thereby complicating hostage negotiations. Maoist posters recovered in Bijapur demanded that the police call off Operation Green Hunt, withdraw Central paramilitary forces from Chhattisgarh, release unnamed Maoist leaders and stop police atrocities on villagers in Bijapur. The police said the lack of specificity made it impossible to meet these demands.
Mr. Vishwarajan’s observations were supported by information gleaned from Maoist sources.
In a telephone conversation on September 26, CPI (Maoist) spokesperson Gudsa Usendi told this correspondent that he had not received any information regarding the kidnapping, implying that top Maoist leadership was also struggling to ascertain the events surrounding the kidnapping.
Mr. Usendi said that the monsoon and poor cellular connectivity had made it difficult to keep track of the events in Bijapur, but felt that the men would be released soon.
The men were finally released after nearly two weeks of search operations, background conversations between the police and Maoists using the local press as mediators and public appeals by the families of the abducted policemen, Chief Minister Raman Singh, Maoist ideologue Varavara Rao, the Chhattisgarh chapter of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties and social activist Swami Agnivesh.
Civilian dies in ‘police-Maoist crossfire’, another injured
Purulia/Bokaro, Oct. 1: A dead driver and a bleeding jeweller were found last night in a car 1km from a bullet-strewn suspected encounter site between security forces and Maoists in Purulia, fuelling speculation that the civilians may have been caught in the crossfire.
Vikas Mishra, 23, the slain driver, was returning to Bokaro last night with a friend, Ganesh Kumar Gupta, from Jharkhand’s Chandil, 30km from Jamshedpur, where they had gone to drop an acquaintance home. They took the NH32 in Purulia, passed the suspected encounter site at Balarampur town and were allegedly caught in the crossfire between the rebels and the India Reserve Battalion (IRB) personnel.
Although it is not clear who fired at the two Bokaro residents, officers of Balarampur police station said IRB deputy commandant Kali Inchen had called them last night from a camp 2km away, saying they had been attacked by Maoists. “He told us the IRB personnel were engaged in an encounter with the rebels,” a police officer said.
“The IRB personnel fired 24 rounds,” said Rajesh Yadav, the Purulia superintendent of police. He said the IRB had filed an FIR, saying they had been attacked by the rebels.
“A force led by sub-inspector Dipak Sarkar rushed to the camp. But by the time they arrived, the firing was over,” Yadav said.
While returning, the police team saw a stationary Indica on NH32, 1km from the alleged encounter site.
“The policemen saw an injured man waving at them from inside the car. The man had been shot in the abdomen and the driver was lying dead. They were taken to Purulia district hospital,” Yadav said.
Residents of Balarampur town said that around 10.30pm yesterday, they heard the sound of “firecrackers”.
“However, when we opened the windows of our houses, we saw IRB personnel firing,” a resident said.
“The two people in the car could have been hit by bullets fired by the IRB jawans,” another resident said. The police team saw the duo in the car around 11.30pm, around an hour after the encounter.
Parameshwar Kundu, a retried government official who lives opposite the IRB camp, said: “I saw through a window that jawans were firing randomly. I immediately closed all the windows and so could not see who they were firing at.”
Efforts to get a comment from the IRB failed.
A police officer said: “After the gun battle with the Maoists, the IRB personnel picked up nine town residents for interrogation and later handed them over to us.”
Residents alleged that the IRB personnel beat up the nine and they had to be admitted to Balarampur block hospital.
Ganesh’s father Uma Shankar Gupta said that when he called up his son at 11pm yesterday, Ganesh told him that he had been hit by a bullet and his friend Vikas was lying dead beside him.
“My son told me that he was lying in a pool of blood on the highway off Balarampur. He told me that he was shot at although he had done nothing wrong,” Gupta said.
Gupta, who works in the intensive care unit of a Bokaro hospital, rushed with a colleague towards Balarampur, 70km away, in an ambulance.
Near a level-crossing at Balarampur, they met a CRPF patrol that told Gupta to go to Purulia district hospital when he told them about his injured son.
Gupta went to the Purulia hospital and brought his son back to Bokaro in the ambulance. Ganesh has been admitted to Muskan Hospital, where his father works.
A doctor at the hospital said: “Although we have taken out the bullet, his condition is serious.”
Vikas’s father Jagannath, who owns a restaurant in Bokaro’s Chas, came to Balarampur after hearing about the incident this morning. He has lodged an FIR saying his son was murdered.
Angry residents blocked NH32 for nearly two hours today, protesting against the “trigger-happy” IRB jawans. They demanded that the camp, housing jawans from Nagaland who had arrived to join the central and state police forces in anti-Maoist operations, be dismantled.
Home secretary G.D. Gautama said at Writers’ Buildings: “If it is a case of mistaken identity, it should not have happened.”
Maoists’ firepower in Saranda coming from mining companies
Oct. 01–RANCHI — A truck laden with eight tons of explosives meant for a mining company and looted by the CPI Maoists in July 2009 near a forest village, Getijharan in Orissa’s Rourkela district is serving as firepower for the rebels holding several training camps in Saranda forests.
The forest cover spread over 820 square kilometers towards the west of Jharkhand’s capital, Ranchi, and a major area stretching into neighbouring state Orissa, has abundance of iron ore hidden beneath the earth. Several companies are engaged in mining activity in and around the forest cover. Use of explosives is common in those mining companies.
“There has been no trace of the truck looted last year,” said deputy inspector general of police (DIG), Naveen Kumar Singh, who led the successful operation against the rebels in the forest last weekend killing at least 12 of them and destroying seven training camps.
The DIG said the rebels routed the truck deep inside the forest and went missing with the vehicle.
“We have not been able to recover the truck and the explosive,” he said, adding, the rebels have used the explosives extensively for making bombs and landmines, which they have laid at every inch of the forest cover.
During last weekend operation, security forces recovered at least 10 powerful landmines, four high explosive bombs used in mortars generally found with the military and CRPF, and gelatin sticks from the destroyed training camps.
“The Maoists have taken the guerilla warfare tactics too effectively in Saranda,” the DIG said, noting: “The rebels are technological far more advanced than before.”
Jawans who returned from the raids said the rebels had taken the wires connected to the landmines along the trees, to prevent easy detection. Besides, they also found ambush on treetops, which was first detected in Chhatisgarh.
Security personnel said returning safely from the forest where taking every step ahead was so unsafe was no less than a miracle.
“We lost three colleagues to bullets, but none in landmines,” said DIG special task force (STF), Arun Oroan.
Given its topography and cobweb of landmines hidden dug and hidden all around, clearing Saranda of Maoist control will remain a daunting task for the state. Secret agencies have reported on umpteen occasions that the Maoists in Saranda continue getting explosives directly or indirectly from the mining companies.
Result: It took security personnel almost eight months to reach Tirilposi, a revenue village, inside Saranda, which was under the Maoists control.
“Continuous fighting is the only solution to regain control of villages dominated by the rebels,” said DIG Singh.
No company operating in the area was ready to comment on the secret agencies report.
Maoists attack forest office in Orissa
Maoists blew up a portion of a forest range office with a landmine in Orissa’s Koraput district early today, police sources said.
Around 15 heavily armed rebels stormed into the forest office at Ramgiri in Boipariguda police station area, about 65 kms from Koraput, and set of the landmine, the sources said.
They shouted slogans against the government before leaving, the sources said.
“A portion of the range office has been completely destroyed. No casualty or injury has been reported as no one was present in the office at the time of the attack,” a senior police officer said.
Last week, Maoists had gunned down a BJD leader at Ramgiri.