Friday, May 22, 2009

Nepal hand in Naxal strike?

MUMBAI/KATHMANDU, 22 MAY: Maharashtra home minister Mr Jayant Patil today feared involvement of Maoists from Nepal in the Wednesday’s Naxalite attack on counter-insurgency commandos in Dhanora taluka of Gadchiroli district in which two officers and 14 constables including five women were killed by the insurgents.
Mr Patil told reporters after visiting the site of encounter between the police and Naxalites at Hattigota forests of Dhanora that the state police was collecting more information to ascertain the involvement of Maoists from Nepal. The police suspected such involvement since the frequency of attacks has not only increased in last few months but the insurgents were getting improved sets of weapons, the source of which could only be tracked down to the sympathisers from the Himalayan state. The state police have a special anti-Naxalite centre headed by an IG rank officer at Nagpur.
The minister spoke his mind after the funeral of the cops in Gadchiroli district. The Naxalites turned violent since their call for a two-day general strike (bandh) elicited just a modest response.
About 35 police personnel have been killed by Naxalites in four months. The last encounter took place on 30 January in the same Dhanora area in which 15 cops fell to the Naxalite bullets and mortars. In that attack mortars were used form the first time raising suspicion about the source weapon supply.
However, Mr Patil said the leader of Wednesday police team inspector Ashok Aiyar and sub-inspector Shantaram Ghorpade had rushed to take on insurgents without informing the Control Room. Apparently, they underestimated the number of Naxalites who were waiting to ambush the team of commandos. The team of 16 cops was vastly outnumbered by the attackers.
The minister has announced Rs 25 lakh in compensation to each family with government jobs for two besides free dwellings and medical care.
In Kathmandu, a 32-year-old Indian who had come to invest in Nepal only four months ago was killed in a remote town in the far west of the country, police said today.
Vishal Jain from Agra came to Nepal to invest in and help run a condiments factory in Mahendranagar in Kanchanpur district.
Jain was returning home from the Vaijanath Katha Factory he used to run with relatives Saturday when he was kidnapped, the police said.
His family received a call for ransom with the kidnappers asking for NRS 20 million. After negotiations, the family agreed to pay NRS 1.10 million but there was no trace of the kidnapped man.
On Wednesday, the police found his body in a forest. His hands and feet were tied, a gag was placed over his mouth and a blindfold over his eyes.
The body bore stab marks as well as bullet injuries. A port mortem report said he had died due to gunshot wounds.
No one has been arrested yet.

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