Mixed response to Maoist shutdown call in Bihar
The police said barring stray incidents, the strike call in Bihar and Jharkhand to protest the killing of Maoists in Odisha in past few weeks passed off peacefully. A strike call by Maoists evoked mixed response in Bihar Saturday as normal life was hit in some rural areas but urban areas were largely unaffected, police said. The police said barring stray incidents, the strike call in Bihar and Jharkhand to protest the killing of Maoists in Odisha in past few weeks passed off peacefully.
“Fear of Maoists forced closure of rural area markets in Gaya, Aurangabad, Arwal, Jehanabad and other districts. Vehicles stayed off roads and common people suffered,” a police official said. Police officials admitted that life in some rural pockets, known as Maoist strongholds, was paralysed, as neither shops nor banks opened. Despite police deployment and the administration’s promise of security cover, shopkeepers downed their shutters. This created difficulties for people in villages on the first day of Navratra, ahead of Durga Puja. Railway stations across the state were alerted and the railway police told to increase patrolling and deploy additional forces.
Rebels hold people’s court, behead 2
KHUNTI: Despite issuing a moratorium on brutal ways of execution by the central committee of Maoists in October last year, the local guerrilla squad (LGS) in Murhu block of Khunti, 60km from Ranchi decapitated two people after holding a people’s court late on Tuesday. The severed heads were found near the bodies dumped close to a seasonal river. They were picked up by villagers and later handed over to police on Wednesday morning. Marcus Hansa Purty (22) and Suman Jena Puty (25) – both residents of Keora village under Murhu PS of Khunti district were picked up by the armed cadres of Arki-Tamar subzonal committee of Maoists, which is also known as the Kundan Pahan group after its subzonal commander.
Pahan is a notorious Maoist commander of the area who shot to limelight in 2008 after a loot of Rs 5 crore from a cash van of a bank in March the same year and the execution of JD(U) sitting MLA Ramesh Singh Munda in July. He earned the reputation of being brutal after the beheading of intelligence inspector Francis Induwar in October 2009. The recent incident is being linked with the ongoing turf war between the Maoists and PLFI cadres. Khunti SP M Tamil Vanan, said they had recovered one mobile phone from the encounter site some weeks ago. “We found that the phone belonged to one Marcus Hansa Purty and warned him against joining the rebel groups,” he said, adding that it was because of his association with the PLFI that Maoists targeted him. Suman Jena Purty of the same village is also learnt to have close links with the PLFI cadres.
While the villagers denied having links with the PLFI, Namjan Asha Purty cousin of Suman Jena claimed that his brother used to work for the police. “He was a special police officer (SPO) and worked to assist the police in their operations,” he said. Suman Jena’s mother expressed complete ignorance about the activities of her son. “No one has come to tell me why his head was severed brutally,” said Marsa Chutia Purty who carried out the last rites of her son on Thursday. “My son was not involved with any rebel group and we were not at home when he was called for a meeting,” she said in a quivering voice unwilling to speak much about the incident.
Giving an eye witness account of the incident, para teacher at Keora upgraded middle school, Budhen Hansa Purty said that he saw the Maoists in fatigue and black bandana spread all across the village roads on Tuesday. “I was stopped and forced to join the mass meeting that they were conducting where a decision was taken to punish two people for being members of the rival PLFI,” he said. Budhen further said that the incident was a revenge of the July 10 killing in the village when Sonika Lohar, a Maoist was picked up by PLFI during a double Khassi football tournament and crushed with stones to death.