Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Maoists hit back in retaliation against Lalgarh operation

Agencies Posted online: Tuesday , Jun 23, 2009 at 1321 hrs

Medininagar, Jharkhand : Maoists blew-up a panchayat bhavan at Chahapur in Jharkhand's Palamau district early on Tuesday during the 48-hour shutdown called by them in five states to protest police operations at Lalgarh in West Bengal. A group of about 20 armed Maoists descended on the vacant panchayat bhavan at around 3 am, packed it with explosives and blew it up, Superintendent of Police Mohit Bundus told reporters here.

The roof of the building blew off, the walls cracked and the furniture were burnt to cinder due to the explosion, Bundus said. Following the blast, security personnel launched a search operation near Chahapur, about 190 kms from Ranchi.

Tuesday is the second-day of the bandh called by the Maoists in five naxal-hit states of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Orissa, Bihar and Chhattisgarh.

Lalgarh bid

Suspected Maoists made an abortive bid to disrupt the supply line of the joint forces by detonating a landmine at Chara village between Midnapore and Pirakata in the wee hours on Tuesday. The bomb, which was planted under a culvert, exploded in a horizontal angle rather than vertical angle, thus causing only slight damage to the pillars of the culvert, sources said.

The culvert is located on a vital 45-km stretch connecting Midnapore to Lalgarh from where the joint security forces have ousted the Maoists. The West Midnapore district Superintendent of Police, Manoj Verma, however, denied any knowledge of such an explosion.

Bihar attacks

Maoists blasted a tower of a private telephone service provider and a community centre in Bihar during their 48-hour bandh in five states to protest the police action at Lalgarh. Scores of CPI (Maoist) ultras swooped on Jhikatia village in Aurangabad district just past midnight and set off dynamites to blow up the community centre building, police said on Tuesday.

However, no one was injured as nobody was present at the building when the Maoists triggered the blast. Maoists blew up the tower of a private telephone company at Kharasi village in extremist-affected Gaya district, also around midnight. The tower was badly damaged, police said. The place is situated close to Jharkhand border. Life in Bihar remained largely unaffected by the Maoist bandh barring Barachatti sub-division of Gaya district, where shops and business establishments were closed and traffic including on the 100 km stretch of Grand Trunk road (NH-2) is very thin.

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