Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rebels flee forest gunbattle

VISHVENDU JAIPURIAR
Hazaribagh, July 21: A police team engaged in a gun-battle with a group of rebels belonging to Jharkhand Prastuti Committee (JPC) in the forests near Chirudih village in Barkagaon, some 47km from the district headquarters, late last night.

However, no arrests could be made, as the rebels escaped into the forests and no casualty was reported from both sides, either.

Police, however, managed to seize a wireless set, five mobile phones, 143 cartridges and files containing names of persons who had paid “levy” to the JPC.

According to sources, the Barkagaon police had received a tip-off regarding JPC members holding a meeting inside the Chirudih forests after dark.

Accordingly, a team led by officer in charge of the Barkagaon police station, Gopal Krishna, and assistant sub-inspectors K.K. Pathak and J.P. Marandi, reached the spot around 12.30am.

Sources said that the Maoists became aware of the police presence when they spotted the torchlight being used by the policemen from a distance. They immediately began to fire indiscriminately. The police retaliated and a gun battle ensued.

Hazaribagh superintendent of police Pankaj Kamboj said that the police fired 10 rounds and the rebels 15 rounds before the encounter ended. “There were about 10 to 15 rebels at the spot. They managed to escape under the cover of darkness. Otherwise, we would have surely managed to kill or arrest them,” Kamboj added.

He said the rebels had gathered in the forest to discuss collection of levy only, but the police foiled their plans.

JPC, a breakaway faction of the CPI(Maoist), has unleashed a reign of terror in Hazaribagh and Chatra districts.

Besides collecting levy, clashes have been reported between JPC and CPI(Maoist) members time and again.

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