Bullets fly in twin cities – Maoist whiff in capital killing
A small-time Ranchi transporter and father of three, reputed to be a police informer for anti-rebel operations in his native Latehar years ago, was fatally shot on a busy road 12km from the state capital on Tuesday morning. Aditya Singh (40) was returning home to Sarovar Nagar after depositing his nine-year-old son’s school fee at Holy Child School in Bajra under Pandra thana area, 5km away, when he was targeted by three men on a bike on Itki Road. Singh took a bullet on his back and died at a private city hospital later in the afternoon.
The daylight shooting, within five days of a young land broker being gunned down in a similar fashion outside his home in Chutia, has doubled the onus of citizen safety on Ranchi police. City SP Kishore Kaushal said they had laid hands on clues and hoped for an early breakthrough, but refused to divulge details for the sake of investigations. Unconfirmed sources said that Singh might have been targeted for aiding anti-Maoist offensives in Balumath in the rebel stronghold of Latehar over a decade ago. Despite having settled in Ranchi in 2003 with wife Avanti, their two daughters, now aged 14 and 12, and a son, the transporter survived two attempts on his life in 2008 and 2015.
According to an eyewitness, Singh was shot at around 10.45am when he was seated in front of an auto-rickshaw, beside the driver, on his way home from Bajra. “Three men on a bike intercepted the auto and within a flash fired two rounds. One bullet hit the passenger in front on the back, below his left shoulder, while the other grazed the driver’s left knee. The second pillion-rider was the shooter. He was carrying small firearms in both hands. Two women passengers on the back seat remained unhurt. The bike then sped towards Ratu Road,” a passer-by present during the attack told The Telegraph on the condition of anonymity. Itki Road links the very busy Pandra market to Ratu Road and was teeming with commuters when Singh was shot at in the auto.
A local vegetable vendor, who also witnessed the shooting, said the assailants must have been in their mid-twenties. “The youth who was riding the bike was wearing a helmet, but his two pillion-riders had none. They fired on the auto and were gone within seconds, leaving two persons injured of whom one died later,” the vendor said. A police officer said both Singh and the driver, whose identity could not be ascertained, were rushed to a local hospital. The driver was released after first aid while Singh was referred to Guru Nanak Hospital & Research Centre on Ranchi station road. The transporter breathed his last at the private hospital around 3pm. Singh’s body has been sent to RIMS Bariatu for post-mortem.
Suspected Naxal held in Chhattisgarh
A 30-year-old suspected Maoist was arrested todayduring a joint operation by security forces in Chhattisgarh’s insurgency-hit Sukma district, police said. Madkam Bhema was apprehended by a composite squad of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and district force from Dondpal village of Gadiras police station limits, Sukma Additional Superintendent of Police Santosh Singh said. Acting on a tip-off, security forces had launched the operation to the interiors of Gadiras region, located around 450 kms away from here, he told PTI.
Infrastructure of Police Dept. to be strengthened
Training centre likely to come up in north Andhra region
The Andhra Pradesh Police Department is keen on strengthening its infrastructure in Srikakulam district by making it major hub for training and stationing of heavy armed forces as it is being considered as the strategic area, thanks to its long border with Odisha where Maoists have significant presence. Union Home Minister Rajanth Singh, who reviewed the law and order situation in AP recently during his visit to Visakhapatnam, assured additional funds for the improvement of infrastructure and training facilities. Andhra Pradesh DGP J.V. Ramudu and Srikakulam SP A.S. Khan and other senior officials reportedly explained the steps being taken to control the Maoist activity in the border area.
According to sources, the Andhra Pradesh Special Police (APSP) battalion would come up very soon in the district as the department could find suitable land near Ponduru of the district. An exclusive camp will also be developed for stationing of armed forces. A training centre like Andhra Pradesh Police Academy is also being planned in north Andhra region. The department observed that more security is needed for the region as major industries are likely to come up on the Visakhapatnam-Srikakulam route. More industrial unrest is anticipated. Stationing of forces at right place would help the department move them quickly in case of emergency.
According to sources, around 1,500 APSP constables and police officials can move quickly on all routes if battalion is ready in the district. “Stationing of extra forces is need of the hour to curb Maoist activities along the A.P.-Odisha border,” said a senior officer. The Union government has also identified importance of Srikakulam district to curb the Maoist activity which was relatively less in the last one decade. However, the government did not want to take chances and decided to sanction all the facilities to the AP government.
The officials informed the Union government that the Maoist activity was there in Tuvva Hills area. The hills are located in the stretch between Battili and Kottur which are in the limits of Srikakulam district. Additional forces have been reportedly deployed at sensitive and strategic locations to stop the intrusion of Maoists. The police stations in places like Battili, Kotturu, Sithampet, Bhamini and other places have been strengthened with additional forces to take on Maoists in future.
Autopsy done on Maoists’ bodies
Doctors at the Area Hospital, Narsipatnam, completed post-mortem on the bodies of the two persons killed in Sunday’s exchange of fire in Koyyuru mandal, on Tuesday afternoon. Identity of the two bodies was not known and they would be kept at the hospital till Wednesday. If no one turns up to claim the bodies, they would be cremated at Narsipatnam, Additional SP and OSD (operations) A. Babujee informed at a press conference. The two were members of the Maoist party and belonged to Odisha or Chhattisgarh and attended a training camp conducted by the Maoists in the Devulapadu area, he said.
The bodies were brought to Narsipatnam hospital at 2 a.m. and the post-mortem was completed around 4 p.m. CLUES team collected fingerprints of the dead persons. The police displayed two country-made guns, some bullets, a knife, blanket, airbag, etc. and Rs. 3,720 in cash. The two were clad in lungis and bodies appeared to have bloated.