Patna, Nov. 27: Union forest and environment minister Jairam Ramesh’s objection to use of SUVs on Indian roads might not have gone down well with Naxalites in Bihar and Jharkhand.
The rebels are travelling luxury class these days.
Their choice of vehicles has flummoxed even the policemen who arrested three activists of the banned CPI (Maoist) from Rohtas district on Saturday.
On the information divulged by the arrested men, a Tata Safari with a UP number was recovered from Chenari block in the same district.
One of the three arrested Maoists, Gyani Paswan, a resident of Dawanpur village under Bhagawanpur police station in Kaimur district, revealed to the police that the rebels are now travelling in sport utility vehicles (SUVs) instead of trains and private buses.
The change in modus operandi, Paswan said, has been made following the arrest of many top-ranking leaders while travelling in trains and buses in the recent past.
The police said the explanation that the arrested Maoist offered for switching to luxury vehicles was that it helps the rebels avoid detection of their identity by security agencies and allows hassle-free transportation of illegal weapons.
Paswan told the police that the cops on check post hardly search SUVs during vehicle-checking drive.
“Unless and until the police have specific information, they don’t intercept the SUVs and search them. The Maoists and criminals take advantage of the police’s leniency in searching the luxury vehicles,” Paswan reportedly told the interrogators. He further said: “The SUVs not only facilitates easy transportation for the Maoists but also helps them ferry weapons without any hindrance.”
Deputy Superintendent of Police (Sasaram) Vishwajeet Dayal said that Paswan was evading arrest in over one dozen cases of kidnapping, loot and murder in Rohtas-Kaimur region.
“Gyani Paswan is a hardened criminal. But he recently established his links with the Maoists’ outfit to create terror in the minds of the people,” he said, adding that the details of his antecedents were being collected from different police stations of Rohtas and Kaimur districts.
According to Dayal, Paswan is a close associate of Tribhuvan Bind, a hardcore Naxalite of Kaimur.
The police suspect Paswan to be involved in supplying arms to Maoists, but the latter denied any such dealings during the interrogation.
Paswan is said to be the mastermind behind a series of attacks on the prisoners’ lock up on court premises at Babhua in Kaimur district to set their accomplices free.
He himself escaped from prisoners’ lock up in Sasaram court in November 2009 after hurling bombs at the police officers present on the premises.
Dayal told The Telegraph on the phone that the police first arrested Gyani and his associate Dharmendra Rai, a resident of Musiman in Bhadohi area of UP, from the Grand Trunk Road under Model police station during checking of vehicles.
One country-made pistol and four ammunition were recovered from their possession.
Subsequently, the police carried out raids at Sabrabad village under Chenari police station of the district and arrested Chulbul Yadav.
Two looted police rifles of .303 bore were also recovered during the raid, he said, adding that the arrest of Dharmendra suggested inter-state links of the arrested persons.
In all, two looted police rifles, one country-made rifle, a double-barrel gun and a country-made pistol were seized from different hideouts of the arrested rebels.
Sources in the state police headquarters said that over 35 zonal and area commanders have been arrested from different Maoists-affected districts in the past one year. Some of them were evading arrest for long, a senior police officer said, adding that over 350 activists of the banned outfit have been arrested from the 33 Maoist-affected districts of the state in the past 11 months