Maoists call 48-hour bandh in Bihar and Jharkhand
Maoists have called a 48-hour bandh in Jharkhand and Bihar from April 6 to protest against killing of their 10 cadres. Additional Director General of Police BB Pradhan said precautionary measures would be taken to ensure that normal life was not disturbed during those two days. A man claiming to be Gopal Ji, a member of the CPI (Maoist) special area Bihar-Jharkhand-North Chhattisgarh, rang up media houses on Saturday saying they have called a 48-hour bandh in Bihar and Jharkhand from April 6. Reports said the bandh would be a part of the ‘Protest Week’ to be observed from April 1 in protest against the killing of their 10 cadres by Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC) ultras in the intervening night of March 27 and 28 in Chatra district.
“We have not received any intelligence reports in this regard, but will take all measures to ensure normal life in the wake of the newspaper reports,” Chatra Deputy Commissioner Manoj Kumar said. The TPC, which had broken away from the CPI (Maoist) on ideological grounds in 2002, shot dead 10 Maoists and claimed to have taken as many hostages during a firefight in jungles near Lakramanda village of Chatra district. The police, however, said they were not aware of anyone being taken hostage.
CRPF to hire private copters
NEW DELHI: After several run-ins with IAF, CRPF has floated bids to hire private choppers for anti-naxal operations. CRPF will, however, assume no responsibility if the choppers come under fire from insurgents. In a bid document issued by CRPF on March 15, it has specified that it intends to hire two private choppers for “supervisory reconnaissance by senior officers” besides carrying troops, supplies like weapons and rations and casualty evacuation. The choppers provided by IAF to CRPF had so far mainly been employed for casualty evacuation with CRPF rarely getting a chance to do a air reconnaissance of possible Naxal targets. The responsibility of the chopper’s safety will rest on the private company.
“The helicopters will be hired for assisting in combat missions. Combat missions mean the helicopter, as it ferries troops or evacuates casualties, may come under hostile fire from the ground…the department cannot assume any responsibility in regard to any harm that might come to the operator’s man or machine in such missions,” the CRPF bid document says. CRPF has specified that the operator will have no discretion to refuse any flight due to any risk perception. The choppers are to be stationed in Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh and Ranchi in Jharkhand but may be used in other naxal-affected states.