Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Maoist vendetta claims girl in Bundu

- 500 metres from police station, farmer’s family targeted
RAJ KUMAR

Bundu (Ranchi), Aug. 28: In a revenge strike against the family of a farmer whom they believed to be a police informer, Maoists used the cover of darkness today and gunned down his 12-year-old daughter and three tenants living in his house at Bundu, 45km from Ranchi, but no one from the police station barely 500 metres came to help.

Digambar Mahto’s younger daughter, nine-year-old Beauty Kumari, was also injured, and was battling for her life at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in the capital.

At least 25 Maoists first used an IED to set off an explosion in the area, off the Ranchi-Jamshedpur highway, and then began firing indiscriminately from semi-automatic weapons killing Mahto’s daughter Reeta Kumari (12), daily wage labour Budhni Devi (30) and two Part II science students of Panch Pargania Kisan College, Vijay Pramanik (20) and Pradeep Kumar Mahto (20).

Budhni, Vijay and Pradeep were Digambar’s tenants living in the house for last three months.

Mahto, who survived the attack along with his wife Mithila Devi, said the operation continued for over 30 minutes. “The extremists targeted my house around 1.30am when all of us were asleep. First, I thought that they would leave as they had come without the usual warnings,” he said.

When the firing continued for more than two minutes, Mahto realised it was unusual. “Sensing trouble I somehow escaped with my wife climbing out of the rear window, leaving my two daughters sleeping. We thought the rebels would not harm children. But we were wrong,” he said, weeping inconsolably.

Mahto pointed out that the Bundu police station was hardly half-a-kilometre away. “I was expecting help from the there. But no one came.”

A Bundu police official defended his men saying it wasn’t possible for them to step out as rebels were waiting to ambush them. “We did not dare come out as our sources informed us that the extremists were ready to ambush us outside the police station,” said a police constable.

On the basis of Mahto’s statement, the Bundu police lodged an FIR saying his family was targeted by Maoists who believed he was a police informer.

The inspector-general of South Chhotanagpur, Rezi Dungdung, confirmed the incident. “Such action reflects the real ideology of extremists. They (extremists) are inhuman. They believe in killing innocents,” he said.

Today’s attack was the third since August 24 when Maoists have struck with impunity within 500m of NH-33 that passes through the Bundu police station area. On the night of August 24, they set four trucks on fire at Taimara on NH-33. On August 25, again at night, they ambushed a police team near Nawadih Middle School, about 500 metres from the highway.

The attacks indicate the relative ease at which the rebels were gradually increasing their area of influence even if it meant coming nearer to the Bundu police station. While the first attack was 15km away, the second came closer by 5km. The third attack was just half-a-kilometre away.

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