Thursday, April 09, 2009

Maoists continue attacks ahead of LS polls in Bihar

9 Apr 2009, 0411 hrs IST, Abdul Qadir & Nishant Sinha, TNN

GAYA/AURANGABAD: In what appears to be an attempt to demoralize security forces in the run up to the parliamentary polls, Maoists carried out two
attacks on government and private installations in Bihar’s Gaya and Aurangabad districts in the past 24 hours.

In Gaya, the Maoist blew up a schiool building-cum-cluster centre at Baluar village under the Banke Bazar police station, about 4 km from the venue of CM Nitish Kumar’s election meeting scheduled to take place in the neighbouring Raniganj village, on Wednesday. The blast took place only a few hours before CM Nitish Kumar’s scheduled visit in the afternoon.

This is for the second time within the last 72 hours that the extremists have caused explosion in the area where CM Nitish Kumar’s election meet was scheduled. Earlier, the Maoists blew up a school building and cluster centre in the Barachatti police station area in a similar fashion.

According to reports reaching the district headquarters, the Maoists numbering about 100 ransacked the two-storey government school building, took away the school computer along with all the accessories and blew up the building and the adjoining resource centre using can bombs in the operation.

Confirming the blowing up of the government middle school-cum-cluster centre building, Gaya SP MR Naik said that there appeared to be a pattern in recent blasts as both the blasts were timed to precede the CM’s visit by a few hours.

The extremists on their part have also stepped up their anti-election campaign with wall writings in different parts of the district, exhorting and intimidating voters against the exercise of their franchise.

They have also reportedly distributed printed material claiming therein that “the election exercise was nothing but a sham and an eyewash and the real answer to the problems of the disadvantaged and deprived sections lied in the installation of a revolutionary people’s government”.

In a separate incident, Maoists attacked a mobile phone tower in the Naxal-prone Dev block of Aurangabad district at around midnight on Tuesday.

The mobile tower was located at Bishinpur Sagahan village under Dev police station. The tower, which torched by the Red rebels, belongs to a private telecom operator.

Sources said about 50 heavily-armed Maoists, some of them in police uniforms, surrounded the village around midnight and asked the chowkidar present to hand over the keys of the air-conditioned room of the tower. Later on, they blew the tower with crude bombs which set it on fire. The generator sets used for providing power to the mobile tower and other related equipment were gutted in the explosions. The extremists also shouted slogans “Lal salaam zindabad” after the attack.

However, no casualties have been reported from the attack.

The attack was ostensibly carried out to disrupt the communication system so as to deprive the police and other intelligence agencies of vital information regarding Maoist activities.

Aurangabad SP Ravindran Shankaran said apparently the attack had been carried out primarily to harass the common people and disrupt the communication system. “Raids are on to nab the extremists,” he said.

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