Rebels gun down 5 cops- Bike-borne Maoists in civilian garb strike at Gumla market
Ranchi, April 4: Maoists gunned down five policemen, including constables and an assistant sub-inspector, on patrol at a weekly market in Gumla this afternoon in a swift, pre-planned strike less than two days after the rebels blew up a panchayat building in neighbouring Lohardaga. A team comprising ASI of Gumla district police Gopal Singh, constables Ram Narayan Ram, Bhola Singh and Chotelal Murmu, JAP-6 constable Dilip Bedia and driver Rayman Tirkey, all in the age group of 40 to 50, reached Chainpur market around 12.30pm.
They were still in the patrol van while on a routine round of the market, about 45km from the district headquarters, when the rebels sprayed bullets on the policemen. An officer in Ranchi pointed out that the four constables died on the spot. “The ASI, who was seriously injured, was airlifted and brought to Apollo hospital in Ranchi within three hours, but the doctors could not save him. The driver was admitted to Gumla sadar hospital with bullet wounds in his leg. He is recovering,” the officer added. A police officer in Gumla said 15 to 20 Maoists in civilian garb were waiting for the patrol team.
“As the policemen reached the market close to Chainpur block headquarters, the Maoists, nine of whom were on three motorbikes, indiscriminately opened fire with Insas rifles. There was panic in the crowded market as the firing continued for around five minutes. After they stopped, the Maoists escaped with three Insas rifles belonging to the police,” the officer added. State DGP Rajeev Kumar corroborated the Gumla police statements. Superintendent of Apollo hospital P.D. Sinha said ASI Singh was barely alive when he was admitted. “He had bullet injuries in the chest and abdomen. We tried hard to save him but could not.” On March 13, Maoists killed a special task force jawan and injured two others near Luru village of Gumla, about 20km from the Chainpur weekly market.
Though the police had responded with a massive combing operation and claimed to have killed several Maoists, today’s incident has reaffirmed the clout wielded by the rebels in the district. Asked, the DGP said, “It was a retaliatory action by the Maoists, as they had recently suffered heavy losses after they were cornered by the police.”
An officer at the state police headquarters conceded that Maoist attacks were being anticipated, especially since the rebels have vehemently protested against the killing of 10 of their leaders by rival outfit Tritiya Prastuti Committee in Chatra on March 27. “On Tuesday night, a panchayat bhavan was blown up in Lohardaga. Today, policemen were ambushed in Gumla. We fear similar attacks in the near future. The security personnel will have to remain extra vigilant and closely monitor the movement of Naxalites in forest areas,” the officer added.
Supporting Tritiya Prastuti Committee likely to backfire for Jharkhand
RANCHI: The state government’s alleged experiment to tacitly support the Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC), a splinter group of the CPI (Maoist) in eliminating cadres and leaders of the parent outfit, is likely to be counter-productive for the police in the long run. Accused of ignoring the killings and violence unleashed by TPC, which is dominated by the Ganjhu and Bhokta community, in its areas of dominance – including Palamu, Lohardaga, Hazaribag, Chatra and Latehar – by human rights organizations and Maoists (mostly Yadav-dominated), the police have been smirking on the sidelines of the recent killings of senior Maoist leaders at Lakarbandha in Chatra district last week.
“This is a dangerous experiment,” said Ajay Sahni, executive director of the Delhi-based Institute for Conflict Management. “When armed men are left to operate by themselves with a significant degree of independence, it will have a negative impact on the growth of the state,” he said, adding that though this experiment could not be equated to Chhattisgarh’s ‘Salwa Judum’, the approach was certainly negative.
Experts pointed out that any militia covertly supported by the system usually runs beyond the control of the state. “There are many instances of backlash in places plagued by insurgency, where the state has encouraged breakaway groups of insurgents,” said a senior government official, citing the example of Surrendered United Front of Assam (SULFA) pitted against the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA).
The official said that now, with the recent killings of the Maoists on March 28, the latter will not rest till it succeeds in hunting down as many or more heads of the TPC outfit or even resort to massacre in villages dominated by members of the scheduled caste or dalits. CPI (ML) general secretary Deepankar Bhattacharya said: “The counter-insurgency strategy adopted by the state to complement Operation Green Hunt is fraught with dangerous implications.” The party has also demanded a judicial inquiry into the Chatra killings.
The police, however, are not too concerned about these allegations. Brushing aside apprehensions of more killings, a senior officer said: “Let it happen, we are capable enough to deal with it.” Officers also argued that TPC, more concerned about the turf war than challenging the system, is a lesser devil for them.
Describing the allegations as baseless, DGP Rajiv Kumar said the police have frequently raided TPC hideouts and arrested a large number of their members. Notwithstanding the claims, not too many of them have been arrested though and they roam freely in the districts where there is little or no presence of Maoists. If Latehar district is taken as a case study, the police between March to September 2012 arrested 12 Maoists and only three from TPC, which is now 500-strong and growing in strength.
Naxalites set up own military school in Dandakaranya
NEW DELHI: The CPI (Maoist) has formed its own elite training ‘institute’ in the Dandakaranya forests, a Naxalite bastion, to transform tribal cadres into Communist professionals equipped to handle tasks related to the Central Committee, the outfit’s apex decision-making body.
The Buniyadi Communist Training School (BCTS), a brainchild of CPI (Maoist) top gun Ganapathy, has been churning out professionally-trained Communists since 2009 with basic military skills and knowledge of Hindi, social studies, mathematics and science. Each tribal cadre undergoing the six-month course at BCTS, which operates in Dandakaranya only, with the actual venue changing with every batch, is taught military intelligence and action team subjects, a surrendered courier for the CPI (Maoist) central committee recently told the Chhattisgarh police.
Dandakaranya special zonal committee (DKSZC) member K Ramachandra Reddy alias Raju is in charge of the school and key Maoist leaders like Takalapalli Vasudeva Rao alias Ashanna are training Maoist cadres between 14 to 21 years in military intelligence and action team missions such as assassination of legislators and senior police officers. The BCTS which trains 30 to 35 students in each batch, has trained four batches so far.
The fifth batch is reportedly undergoing training in Dharba area. The cadres trained in the school are assigned important duties, mostly in works related to the CPI (Maoist) central committee. The motive behind the decision to form BCTS – taken at a 2009 DKSZC meeting attended by CC members Ganapathy, Katakam Sudarshan alias Anand and Tippiri Tirupati alias Devuji – was to overcome the acute leadership problem being faced by the CPI (Maoist).
The surrendered central committee courier, who is barely 19 and hails from a poor Gond family in Maad area of Chhattisgarh, has revealed that the Takalapally Vasudev Rao alias Ashanna heads both the Dandakaranya action team as well as military intelligence (MI). The action teams have been actively plotting to go after high-profile targets, according to the surrendered Naxalite who was barely 12 when inducted into the dalam. He told the police that the DK action team had last year attempted to kill a senior police official and even tried to attack a DGP-rank officer traveling in a train from Raipur to Howrah.
The Maoist courier said actions teams conduct reconnoitres ahead of important raids and ambushes. The DK action team, he revealed, had looted 17 tonnes of explosives from Bhanupuri and 17,000 explosive devices from Narayanpur in 2009, as well as 16 tonnes of explosives from Gadchiroli in 2010. Ashanna is currently planning to reconstitute the action team and has identified cadres from different companies for the same. The surrendered courier put the strength of armed cadres in Dandakaranya at about 3,000 and that of the militia at 5,000 cadres. The Dandakaranya committee has a technical wing with a manufacturing unit near Gobel in Kucoanar area.
This unit makes 12 bore guns, .315 guns, rocket launcher shells, grenade launcher shells and refills of 12 bore and .315 cartridges. It also manufactures barmars, pipe bombs, claymore mines and pressure bombs.
Maoists blow up Jharkhand panchayat office
A two-storey building used as a panchayat office was blown up by Maoists on Tuesday night at Seeram village in Lohardagga district of Jharkhand. Police said three improvised explosive devices were used for the blast. “CPI (Maoists) may have done this as a reaction to the killing of Maoists by the Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC) in Chatra last week. Or they may have targeted this building because a janta durbar [public meeting] was held by my office and the Collector’s office in this building a few days ago to respond to people’s concerns regarding public schemes and Maoists are opposed to this,” said Lohardagga Superintendent of Police Jitendra Kumar Singh.
Ten members of the CPI (Maoist), including four leaders of the Maoists Madhya zone — the area south of the Grand Trunk Road, including Aurangabad in Bihar and Chatra and Palamu in Jharkhand — were killed in a clash with TPC, a splinter group of Maoists, in Chatra district 100 km north of Ranchi on March 27. In a statement released on March 31, CPI (Maoists) Bihar Jharkhand North Chhattisgarh special area committee spokesperson Gopal had declared April 1 to 7 as “pratirodh saptaah” (protest week) in which they would avenge the TPC’s killings, and called for a Bihar-Jharkhand bandh on April 6 and 7.
Maoists shot in textbook offensive; eyebrows raised
Maoist hotbed Gadchiroli’s ‘biggest’ anti-Maoist operation resulting in the death of at least seven ultras on Thursday seems too perfect to be true, claim experts. “It is fishy. Not a single jawan was injured in the two hour battle between Maoists and the police,” alleged a social worker of the area, who did not want to be named. In a similar operation in January, the Gadchiroli police killed six Maoists near Govindgaon.
Here too, no policemen were injured. According to the police, on Thursday morning around 100-armed Maoists were holding a secret meeting in the Bhatpar jungle of Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district bordering Chhattisgarh, some 300 km from Nagpur, when acting on a tip-off, three separate companies of C-60 — an elite anti-naxal squad — reached the spot, cordoned off the jungle and challenged the ultras.
What followed was a two-hour long bloody battle resulting in the death of seven Maoists. No policeman was killed or injured. Bharat Thakur, the sub-divisional police officer of Aheri, who led the operation, said, “We have intensified the combing operation and the toll may rise.”
‘Former aides bigger threat to Reds than cops’
RANCHI: More than security forces, Maoists in Jharkhand dread their former cadres who have quit insurgency. A CPI Maoist rebel, arrested by Ranchi police on Wednesday, has disclosed that senior leaders consider them a bigger threat than jungle warriors of the CRPF combing Jharkhand’s jungles.
Many of the former rebels, the Reds claim, were cajoled by police to join them as special police officer (SPO) for a petty sum in 2010. Arrested rebels, Binu Munda and Ramchandra Munda, are accused of killing special force officer Vinod Singh Munda and injuring another Rajendra Singh Munda in Rahe, 60 km from here, on February 4. The duo used to work for dreaded rebel Ram Mohan, the area commander of the powerful Gautam Dhara Area Committee of the Maoists. “Ram Mohan dreads the rebels who have quit and joined police force rather than the jungle warriors of the CRPF,” said police sources quoting the rebels.
Ram Mohan is suspected to have executed a massive attack on two SPOs in February in which one was killed. In the past, rebels have killed several SPOs in rural Ranchi itself. Ranchi SP (rural) A V Minz concedes the SPOs have emerged as targets for the rebels.
Ranchi police have been successful in taming the Maoist insurgency. In 2012, they arrested 59 rebels. The arrested rebels include some top Maoists like subzonal and zonal commanders of the Maoists and also from its splinter groups, said ASP operation Shambhu Kumar. Maoists believe that all these arrests have been made possible only because of the SPOs. In the past too, the Maoists have asked SPOs not to support the police.
All the Maoist-hit districts of the state have hired tribals in areas of Red dominance as informers who work for them. These SPOs get Rs 3000 as monthly compensation. A SPO from Bundu said on condtitions of anonymity, “The rebels issue threats in letters sent through our kids. They tell us to stop working for the police or face dire consequences.”
In the past, posters of Maoists seized by police had a clear mentioned that police torture tribals who have promised to work for them. The torture is rampant in Sarjamdih, Baruhatu, Jojohatu, Omanburu, Sataki, Vijaygiri, Maranghada and other areas in rural Ranchi.
Huge amount of explosives seized in Bihar
Gaya, Bihar: In a major breakthrough, security forces on Friday foiled a Maoists’ bid to trigger a landmine blast, recovering 100 IEDs and six pressure cooker bombs from Chanderia-Pichhulia road under Dumaria police station area in Bihar’s naxal-infested Gaya district, a senior police official said.
During a search operation, security men comprising CRPF jawans and the local police, detected the haul of IEDs and pressure cooker bombs planted under the road through which the Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Anupam Kumar-led team of security men were to pass through for anti-naxal operations, the Magadh range DIG N. Hasnain Khan said.
The forces had come to know about planting of the IEDs and pressure cooker bombs on Chanderia-Pichhulia road from a Maoist Chhotu Paswan, who was arrested recently, he said.