Once a red zone, Bihar on high alert

Rattled over one of the deadliest Maoist attacks in Chattisgarh, the Nitish regime in Bihar has sounded high alert following intelligence inputs that the Maoists, owing allegiance to the banned outfit CPI (Maoists), may cross over to Jharkhand from the neighbouring Chhattisgarh and may eventually sneak into Bihar to escape the police dragnet.

Bihar is the originating point of the “Red corridor” built over the years, which goes on connecting Jharkhand and Chattisgarh with Andhra Pradesh. The several hundred kilometres-long porous border, which Bihar shares with Nepal, gives the Maoists an easy access for the supply of sophisticated weapons.

Ever since the Maoist Communist Centre and People’s War Group merged in September 2004 to form an outlawed outfit, CPI (Maoists), the members of the banned group have been planning their attack meticulously and striking it with clinical precision. It was against this backdrop they gunned down SP of Munger, K Sunder Babu, in 2004 and still escaped unchallenged.

The mother of all Maoist attack was the November 2005 Jehanabad jail-break incident in which around 1,000 Maoists laid siege to the Jehanabad town, freed their 341 colleagues, including their area commander Ajay Kanu, looted more than 200 rifles and guns, before escaping under the cover of darkness. Five persons, including two policemen, were killed in the gun-battle in which there was an exchange of over 400 rounds of fire.

Earlier, the same year, Maoists had killed former MP Rajesh Kumar in Gaya during the Assembly elections.

In neighbouring Jharkhand too, they killed CPI-ML legislator Mahendra Singh at Giridih in 2005, followed by killing of JMM MP from Jamshedpur Sunil Mahto in 2007. The same year, the Maoists also gunned down son of former chief minister of Jharkhand Babulal Marandi at Giridih, which shares a long jungle border with Bihar. 

Taking nothing to chance, Nitish on Sunday convened a high-level meeting at his residence to take stock of the situation. The meet was attended by Chief Secretary, DGP, Home Secretary and other senior officials of Bihar.

Asking all the SPs of the 38 districts in the state to remain vigil, the police were given instructions that no coercive action against Maoists should take place in Bihar without the prior permission of the police headquarters.

Nitish, who has vociferously opposed the Centre’s “Operation Green Hunt” against the “Red”, has always favoured “talks and reconciliatory approach” towards the ultra-Left group.

Flaying the Chattisgarh attack and expressing condolences for those killed, he appealed to the Maoists “to give up arms, participate in the mainstream democratic process and change the system through ballots, not bullets”.

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