Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bruised, wounded Maoists running helter-skelter

12 Mar 2010, 0558 hrs IST, ET Bureau

NEW DELHI: Four to five days into the joint, inter-state operations launched against Naxalite hideouts along the Jharkhand-Orissa-West Bengal

tri-junction, the forces have already busted two major Maoist training camps in Jharkhand and arrested a top area commander and 20 cadres.

The joint operations, being mounted by the central forces and the police of the three states, come after the Shibu Soren government in Jharkhand abandoned its initial hesitation and agreed to be part of the inter-state strikes. The joint operation aims to push back the Naxalites from areas hitherto held by them and follow up with a rush of development.

Ever since the launch, the forces — around two battalions with SP and commandant-level officers in the lead — have busted two major Naxalite training camps in Chaibasa area of West Singbhum district. On being confronted in these camps, the Naxalites opened fire, dispersed and melted away in the jungles. Around 10 IEDs and Naxal literature were seized.

At the camps, cooking stove and utensils enough to prepare food for 200 people were found, as were tents, medicines and water supply lines complete with Sintex tanks.

In a separate crackdown, a Maoist area commander, Pandu Majhi, was arrested near Bokaro. Stepped up action by Jharkhand over the last 10-20 days has led to seizure of 10-15 kg of IEDs, 240 kgs of ammonium nitrate and .303 rifles.

Meanwhile, in yet another success, the CRPF and Jharkhand Police have arrested a sub-zonal commander of the CPI (Maoist), Bhubaneswar Mahato, along the Bokaro-Hazaribagh border. His aide and suspected arms supplier, Quttubudin, is also in police custody.

Around 1,250 kg of explosives, 50 detonators, 235 kg wire, two rifles, a large number of bullets, two grenades, a water storage tank, a bike, Rs 4 lakh and Maoist literature were seized during the joint raid.
“He is a big catch and this is a major haul for the police,” Bokaro SP Saket Kumar Singh said on Thursday, confirming Mahato’s arrest.

Meanwhile, the Centre has termed its operations in Jharkhand as a success, but warned against complacency setting in.

Efforts are also on to get Bihar on board for the joint operations. According to MHA sources, the Centre — worried over state chief minister Nitish Kumar “reluctance to use force against the Maoists” — has roped in ally BJP’s Sushil Kumar Modi, who is also deputy chief minister, to persuade the JD(U) leader into joining the inter-state operations. “BJP was able to convince Mr Soren in Jharkhand...we have now asked them to convince Mr Kumar in Bihar,” said a senior government functionary here.

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