Maoists launch attacks in 3 states

Maoists launch attacks in 3 states

Naxal menace: Ultras abduct activist, blast tracks, phone tower

Maoists launch attacks in 3 states

The ultras also killed a Jharkhand Party member in West Bengal’s Purulia district, besides blowing up a telecom tower in Bihar.

The violence took place during a two-day shutdown called by the Communist Party of India-Maoist in Jharkhand and Bihar protesting the Centre’s move to launch a crackdown on the banned group.

West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said the Union home minister had accepted his request for retaining 17 companies of the Central paramilitary forces in the state to carry out joint operation with the state police against the ultras.

The body of Jharkhand Party member, Kanai Murmu, was found at Binpur on Monday, police said. He was kidnapped from Shalpatra village in West Midnapore district late on Sunday night.

Rail track blown up

In Jharkhand’s Bokaro district, the rebels blew up a railway track between Bokaro Thermal Power station and Jarandih around 3.45 am, leading to the derailment of a goods train.

Bokaro Superintendent of Police, Saket Kumar, said efforts were on to restore the movement of trains on the route. In another incident, the guerrillas opened fire at a bus at Leslatand village near Topchachi in Dhanbad district injuring three passengers.  The ultras also set ablaze three trucks in Giridih district and one in Dhanbad.

Maoists partially damaged a bridge connecting Dumri to the Grand Trunk Road with explosives. Hazaribagh Superintendent of Police Pankaj Kamboj said the ultras also damaged a road with explosives at Sardalo, bordering Bokaro district.

Operation to continue

The joint anti-Maoist operation by the Central paramilitary forces and the police in West Bengal will continue, with the Centre deciding to keep 17 companies of its forces stationed in the state.

The decision came after West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on Monday.  The chief minister had held talks with Home Minister P Chidambaram and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday.

Bhattacharjee strongly recommended continuance of the joint operation in the state along with simultaneous action in Jharkhand, saying that the West Bengal police would otherwise not be able to consolidate the gains made against Maoists in West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura. He added that the security forces would soon start operations in the areas bordering Jharkhand, where most of the Maoist training camps and strongholds are located.

Activist abducted

Another Jharkhand Party member, Ananda Mahato, was abducted by Maoists from Kulabheda village in West Midnapore district, sources said. Both Murmu and Mahato are members of the anti-Maoist ‘Maobadi Protirodh Committee’, according to police.

In Purulia district, Maoists ransacked the house of a local CPM leader at Ghatbera. As the attackers failed to find Chandan Singh Laya, the CPM Ghatbera local committee secretary, they set his house ablaze.

In Bihar

The armed rebels blasted a tower of a private telecom firm with dynamite at Salaiya village in Bihar, official sources said. Maoists also dug up a 15 metre stretch of a road at Chanda village, disrupting traffic between Deo and Dhibra, sources said. The ultras left behind pamphlets claiming responsibility for the act.

Additional Director General of Police (headquarters), Neelmani, said strict security arrangements had been made for the two-day shutdown in Bihar.

Centre’s offensive

In the backdrop of the continuous defiance of the government by the Naxals, the Centre is set to launch a “massive operation sometime in November” in the left-dominated regions. “We will launch the operation sometime in November, an official from the Ministry of Home Affairs said. The Cabinet Committee on Security chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had discussed the issue last week.

The offensive would be helped by COBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action), which would work in tandem with the state police. The Centre has released 40,000 para-military personnel for the operation. 

To begin with, the operation would be carried out first in the six districts of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Maharashtra. The chief ministers of the affected states have been asked to strengthen their police forces and keep them in high alert.