Bodies of Villagers Recovered in Naxal-Hit Jharkhand
After continuous search operation in naxal-affected Porahat jungles for the last two days, West Singhbhum district police and CRPF personnel today recovered bodies of villagers killed in a retaliatory clash about a week ago. “We have been able to recover some bodies, which were buried on the hilltop after they were killed in retaliation about a week ago,” Police Superintendent Pankaj Kamboj said.
Kamboj did not divulge the number of bodies as the operation was still on. The exact number of bodies recovered could be known only after the completion of the search operation, he said. Six villagers of Kudabeda were allegedly killed in a Jan Adalat organised by CPI (Maoists) with the help of villagers from Mamarbeda which had lost two of their members in a clash with Kudabeda villagers.
Kamboj had confirmed the killing of two villagers of Manmarubeda on Wednesday last but did not confirm the killing of six others in retaliation as no bodies were recovered then. In the course of the search operation, there were encounters between security personnel and the Maoists during the last two days in the jungle, which resulted in the killing of a naxalite yesterday. The security personnel also seized arms and ammunition from the jungle after the ultras made a hasty retreat on both the occasions.
Naxals give cops the slip
Bengaluru: Lack of coordination between the Anti Naxal Force (ANF) and State police allowed the biggest ever Naxal group recorded moving in the state, to go scot free. Nine Naxal members, including a woman, raided a secluded house on the edges of the Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary in Coorg district on Thursday night and took away ration and the evening meal of chicken curry that the family had prepared. The delay in the arrival of the police helped the Naxals camp in the forest on Thursday night and escape on Friday morning. The armed group of Naxals barged inside the house on Thursday night and locked up the husband, wife and two sons. They took away 10 kg of rice and 15 kg of wheat and the family’s evening meal.
They also indulged in a little indoctrination. “The members explained the need of the Naxal movement in the area and told the family members how they can help them to fight the cause,” informed a local villager from Birnani. The locals alleged that if the police had mobilised on that night or even early the next morning, the Naxals could have been caught. Senior police officials in Coorg were informed at 9 pm on Thursday, but a police team visited the house only at 10 am on Friday. Mr Anuchet Gowda, SP, Coorg, said the ANF team could not be called in because it was busy in operations elsewhere and the Coorg police had started operations in the area.
“We have initiated combing operations and in the last two days two incidents have taken place where Naxals are being sighted. The team has covered about 12 km from the place where they were sighted on Wednesday,” Mr Gowda added. This is the first time that Naxals have used the Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary in Coorg district. So far Naxals have camped and roamed in the jungles of Kudremukh and Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary. The Bramhagiri forest abuts Nagarhole at some point and serves to connect the forests to the tiger reserve.
Top Maoist remains elusive, Jharkhand DGP joins hunt
ARVINDJI, the shadowy Central Committee member of the CPI (Maoist) and “enemy number one” of the state police, has continued to evade arrest for three months now — ever since he crossed over to Jharkhand from Bihar.
There have been a few close calls, but he has managed to slip out every time. The latest operation targeting him was in Gumla district, where a joint team of Jharkhand Jaguars, CoBRA personnel and the district police conducted a March 12-14 operation, acting on specific intelligence about Arvindji’s presence. In an extraordinary move, the state DGP joined the forces in the Sibiluru forests, talking to them and walking along with them. Arvind Singh, who has several aliases but primarily known as Arvindji, is from Sukul Chak village of Bihar’s Jehanabad. He was the leader of the team that ambushed security forces at Latehar’s Katiya forests, killing 11 personnel.
The incident is now infamous for planting of IEDs in the bodies of two slain personnel. The CRPF and police had been tracking his team since Arvindji’s entry from Bihar for 21 days prior to the Latehar incident. There were reports that he had since moved to Gumla; this week’s operation has confirmed his presence. While DGP Rajiv Kumar was unavailable for comment, police spokesperson Richard Lakra said he joined the operation to get first-hand information about anti-Naxal operations. Kumar took charge on February 28. “The DGP was in Gumla for two days. He will also be visiting Latehar and Palamu,” said Lakra. “The DGP was at the operational site with other police officers and CRPF officials.
He spent time with forces, even walked along with them,” said a top officer. Kumar reached Gumla on the last day of the operation, a day after Jaguar personnel Manoj Bakhla became the sole casualty of the operation. The operation is significant as the forces also rescued two personnel, Brajesh Licha and Bikram Roy, from Maoist captivity after a prolonged gunfight. The Maoists used them as human shields and kept the police team away for long. Gumla SP Jatin Narwal, who led the operation, told The Indian Express that “the two policemen were trapped inside for 24 hours”.”Our forces showed remarkable fighting spirit, ensuring there were no more casualties. We deactivated 30 landmines and recovered 12 handguns,” he said. An officer said the forces claimed to have seen the bodies of eight Maoists. But Arvindji yet again managed to frustrate the forces. With ENS, Raipur
Suspected Maoist killed in encounter
Chaibasa (Jharkhand): A suspected Maoist was on Friday killed during an encounter with the security forces near Kudabeda village in West Singhbhum district. The rebel, who suffered bullet shots in the encounter, succumbed on way to a hospital, Deputy Inspector General of Police Arun Kumar Singh said, adding that he was later identified as a “member” of the CPI (Maoist).
Two guns and four cartridges were recovered from the spot, the DIG said. This is the second encounter between the rebels and the para-military forces in the district since yesterday. CRPF and the district police were engaged in a gun battle yesterday in the Porahat forests after the security forces rushed there following reports that six bodies of villagers were buried after being killed during retaliatory clashes between sections in two villages, and that there was Maoist involvement in the violence. The DIG said the security forces today located the spot where the bodies were said to be buried following the clash last week. Efforts would be made tomorrow to exhume the bodies, he said. PTI
Man injured in Maoist-security forces encounter
An unidentified man today suffered bullet injuries during an encounter between the security forces and the Maoists in West Singhbhum district, police said here. Superintendent of Police Pankaj Kamboj said the encounter took place at Kudabeda and lasted for about half-an-hour in which the man suffered injuries. Efforts are on to establish the identity of the victim. This is the second successive encounter with the rebels in two days in the district. Yesterday, the CRPF and the district police had locked in gun battle in the Porahat forests.
Villagers dispute claims of Andhra police in Chhattisgarh encounter
KANCHAL (Chhattisgarh): Dust whirled in the afternoon heat as a chopper landed in Kanchal village on March 9 to clean up the aftermath of an early morning anti-Maoist operation. Did the chopper whisk away the solitary body of a woman Maoist, as security forces claim, or the bodies of two women, at least one of whom was a civilian?
Kanchal village is twenty five kilometres inside Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district but the operation was led by Andhra Pradesh’s elite force Greyhounds that has a reputation for well planned precision strikes against the Maoists. But even planned strikes remain mired in the messiness of Chhattisgarh’s conflict arena, where villagers and security forces continue to offer sharply divergent accounts of events. Unlike previous controversial encounters, where the divergence centred over the identity of those killed, in Kanchal, even the number of casualties is disputed.
Security forces admit to gunning down one woman, who they identify as Kunjam Deve and claim was an armed and uniformed Maoist cadre. “We had information that about twelve Maoists were camping in the village. Deve was one of them. She was killed while others escaped,” says A V Ranganath, SP of Khamman district, bordering Bijapur. However, villagers say Deve was a middle aged mother of three who had gone to fetch water from the nearby river and was caught in the crossfire.
Three days after the operation, when this correspondent visited the village, womenfolk from Deve’s family stood by the river, mourning her death. Her teenage daughter Bhime was inconsolable. Mystifyingly, villagers insist a second woman was also shot dead, a claim rejected by the police. No one in the village, however, could identify the second woman. Some suggested she was an unknown labourer crossing the river on way to Andhra Pradesh. Kanchal falls on the route taken by adivasis traveling for seasonal work in Andhra’s chilli fields.
But in private conversations, a few villagers admitted the second woman was a Maoist. “There was indeed a team of Maoists in the village and a woman cadre was killed in the encounter, but it wasn’t Kunjam Deve,” said one villager, who requested anonymity. “Deve was just an ordinary villager, whose husband had been executed by the Maoists in 2008 on charges of being a police informer. The family has endured a double tragedy.” A note by a division-level secretary of the CPI Maoist states that two women were killed in the Kanchal encounter but is silent on their identity.