Saturday, August 15, 2009

Mission to hunt down Naxalites aborted

SHASHANK SHEKHAR
Bokaro, Aug. 13: Aborting the three-pronged combing operation in the hilly forests nestled between Bokaro, Hazaribagh and Giridih within an hour of the recent rebel strike in Tundi may have robbed the state police of an opportunity to catch wanted Naxalite commanders, including Navin Majhi.

Majhi, one of the most elusive rebel leaders, is believed to have fled the area through the Narki foothills of Jhumra in Bokaro soon after the police brass in Ranchi called off the flush out operation.

Launched on August 10, the combing operation was being led from three sides by Bokaro SP Laxman Singh, Hazaribagh SP Pankaj Kamboj and Giridih SP Asim Vikrant Minj along with CRPF’s 26th battalion commandant V.S. Sharma. The objective was to nab rebel commanders Navin Majhi, Prabal Manji and Ranvir who had been spotted in these three districts.

It is learnt that soon after a posse of 700 armed policemen swooped on the forests, Navin Majhi sent an SOS to his men seeking help. The abduction of two policemen — ASI Om Prakash Jha and constable Deepak Bauri — followed. Jha’s bullet-riddled body was found yesterday while a wounded Bauri was rescued from a field.

“Soon after the news spread, the operation was called off,” said a senior IPS officer, requesting anonymity. He said the mission was aborted on Tuesday night without taking into confidence the police and paramilitary personnel involved.

IG, North Chhotanagpur, Kishan Singh Meena, however, cited Independence Day preparations as the reason behind the decision.

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