GAYA: Over 50 heavily armed Naxals belonging to CPI(Maoist) on Thursday night put on fire three timber mills in the Kothi police station area of the Naxal-affected Sherghati subdivision of the district.
Reports reaching the district headquarters say that the Naxals also damaged one tractor during their operation against the timber mills.
Confirming the incident of burning of the three timber mills by the Maoists, Sherghati SDPO Mahindra Prasad Basantri said that the cause of the Naxal operation against the three timber mills was yet to be ascertained.
The SDPO, however, did not confirm damage caused to one tractor. Asked whether the Naxals also left behind any note at the place of occurrence, the SDPO replied in the negative.
Police sources do not rule out non-payment of “levy” (protection money) to the Naxals by the timber mill owners of the Kothi police station area as an important reason that provoked the Naxals to target the timber mills.
Reports also say that the same group participated in all the three arson operations executed by the Naxals. The incident has caused anxiety in the local business community.
The Maoist operation is also being seen as an act of defiance and ‘brave face putting’ in view of the frequent combing and other operations undertaken jointly by the combined forces of COBRA, CRPF, SAP, STF and district police to flush out the Naxals and destroy their hideouts.