BY SHANKAR ANAND AND MAHASWETHA DAS
Four days after returning to Delhi from Jharkhand, Pranai Sahai has said that the CRPF soldiers are of high spirit and if required, the CRPF will decide and deploy more soldiers in Jharkhand for future operations if situation demands. The act of implanting IED (explosive devices) in the belly of a soldier is so inhuman that it projects that up to which limits of barbarism these naxals have fallen. For the time being, 18 battalion of soldiers have been deployed in Jharkhand.
The counter firing that continued from Monday to Wednesday (07/01/2013-10/01/2013) in the Barwadih areas (village) of Latehar district has finally stopped, but the area, which is covered from three sides with heavy jungle, has become as silent as a graveyard. In the past few days, people living in those areas have fled the place to save their lives. They are scared that they would either be tortured by the naxals or by police for information/interrogation. In this incident, over 10 CRPF soldiers have been killed while over 15 are injured, who are now being treated in RIIMS in Ranchi. According to Latehar’s SP Krantikumar Gadideshi, over two kg of IED have been recovered from the body of the martyr (CRPF Jawan named Babulal Patel from Uttar Pradesh). He also said that this inhuman act by naxals is being utterly condemned by the Jharkhand police, and that a suitable reply will be given to them in the days to come.
Post this incident, people living in this village have expressed their anger over the government’s decision to carry out this operation because four villagers, along with the 10 CRPF soldiers, have been killed. Besides, one villager is severely injured, who is now being treated in Ranchi. The villagers who lost their lives in this tragic incident are Jageshwar Bhuiya (son of Kumar Bhuiya), Ganu Singh (son of Tanku Singh), Virender Yadav, and Pramod Saw.
All these deceased belonged to the villages of Amuatikar, Nawadi, and Chakalwa. The person who is severely injured and is being treated in a RIIMS (Ranchi) has been identified as Vijay Turi, son of Khelawan Turi.
Expressing their outrage, the villagers have held the police responsible for the death of these villagers. The villagers have accused that instead of taking the dead body of the deceased jawan, the police asked these four villagers to do the needful. Since the naxals had implanted bombs around the dead body, these four villagers got killed without any reason. This is the first time that the naxals used such a tactic to lure and kill the police in Jharkhand. Many villagers met the local SP to protest against the incident. Although the police have rejected all these allegations, the local SP has assured that one member of each family of those four killed villagers will be given a job. Besides, some of them have already been given some amount of compensation.
In the meantime, the naxals have released an audio tape to protest against the operation. In his message, Toofanji, a naxal leader and the spokesperson of Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh Special Area Committee, has acknowledged that the Maoists had carried out the attack under his leadership.
(This naxal leader has claimed that the police used five villagers as human shield and therefore are responsible for their death. He further mentions about the past incidents/attacks, including the latest one, in the audio tape. Toofanji has revealed that they planned to take revenge through this incident against the atrocities done on the naxals. He also says that the police usually attack them by using small naxal groups who had already parted ways from them, which he terms as unfair. He asserted that the police are harming the villagers by promising to abolish naxalism. Therefore, he has urged journalists and human rights organisations to inspect the area for factual details. He also expressed his grief over the death of these villagers. He further slammed Union Minister Jairam Ramesh, saying that he is just fooling around in disguise of development (woh bikas ke naam pe nautanki kar rahe hai), and that the Central Government only supports the businessmen. He warned that such acts will never be tolerated by them and that they will win this mission or be successful in reaching their goal with the help of local/common people.)
Although the police have not released any statement yet with regard to the naxal leader’s recently released audio clip, a CRPF source has revealed that the naxals have been planning this attack from quite a long time.
There are speculations that the person behind the naxal tactics/techniques of implanting explosive devices on the CRPF Jawan’s dead body or inside his belly is Prabhat Mochi (he might have trained the naxals about this surgical technique), and he has already been detained and is now being interrogated by the Jharkhand police. It is believed that Prabhat Mochi had already implemented such surgical tests on goats and monkeys. On being asked, the SP of Ranchi, Saket Kumar Singh, has revealed that Prabhat Mochi has actually been detained, but refused to give further detail over fears that this might affect their investigation process.
Intelligence sources of CRPF have revealed that naxals like Naveen, Anup Thakur, Prabhat Mochi, Sandip Ji, Nandu bhuiya, and Dev Kant Singh alias Netan alias Arvind Ji, were mainly responsible for the Maoist attack in the Latehar district of Jharkhand. They also revealed that the planning of this incident was done during a meeting in Gaya (Bihar) in August 2012 in which around 300-400 Maoists were present. Following this meeting, around 174 Naxals entered the Palamu border by crossing a number of jungles and hills, where they were being assisted/helped by a senior naxal leader called Sandeep Ji.
However, the CRPF wing in Jharkhand figured out this development and informed the authorities there about the matter. When the CRPF head of Palamu came to know about it, several check posts were set up in different parts. CRPF soldiers also started patrolling the jungles, leading to the change of routes by the naxals. Therefore, instead of entering the jungles in Latehar, they moved to the jungles in Chatra. After spending some days there, they headed towards Palamu. Thereafter, they crossed the Midar jungle and reached Latehar. This process increased their number from 174 to around 500 or 600.
Although the intelligence wing of the CRPF was keeping a watch on them, they were waiting for a right time to attack them. But they failed to figure out the exact number of naxals moving towards Latehar and assumed that around 174-200 naxals might be trying to cross the jungles. The senior officials of Jharkhand police and CRPF were aware of the developments from the past one month. Even the CRPF Chief was informed about it one month back, but what is shocking is that nobody knows who actually gave orders to carry out the attack. Therefore, clearly there was a security lapse in figuring out the exact number naxals crossing the jungles and the important question that arises is that who will take responsibility for this incident? Also, why were the villagers sent to fetch the dead body of the CRPF jawan?