Maoists kill 24 jawans
Kolkata, February 15
The incident occurred while the Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR) jawans were resting in their camp after returning from a route-combing operation in the area. No further details were available since senior CRPF and police officials were still busy in rescuing the injured policemen.
According to unofficial sources, about 50 Maoists, carrying AK-47 and other deadly weapons, attacked the CRPF camp in the Simplipal Bazar area and killed at least 20 jawans and injured around 30 others.
The Maoists also looted rifles and other firearms stored in the camp. Several landmines were detonated by them during the attack that burnt a large part of the camp. Several jawans had to flee to nearby places to escape the onslaught.
According to local BDO, the Maoists attacked the police camp around 5 pm. Some of the Maoists reached the spot on bikes and they drove away into a nearby jungle soon after the attack, he added.
The incident caused panic among police personnel engaged in anti-Maoist operations in the district. Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has expressed concern over the attack.
After the incident, Maoist leader Koteshwar Rao (alias Kishenji) claimed they launched the attack as a warning to Home Minister P Chidambaram and Chief Minister Budhadeb Bhattacharjee for their decision of launching an interstate joint action against Maoists, instead of meeting their basic needs and redressing their legitimate demands. He said more such operations would be conducted in the coming days, if the proposed joint action, involving the forces of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa, was not abandoned.
Ranchi, February 15
The state government is considering the demands made by Maoists for the safe release of Prasant Layak, a block development officer (BDO). Layak was abducted by four armed men of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) from Dalbhumgarh block of East Singhbhum district.
"The state government is working on two fronts. The operations are going on to ensure the release of the abducted official and at the same time the government is considering how to fulfil the demands of Maoists. The state government has to go through legal procedures to ensure the release of the people who are in jail,” a highly placed source in the state government told IANS. In exchange for Layak, the Maoist rebels want seven people released.
Maoist rebels are using Layak’s wife Juli to put pressure on the government. The rebels called Juli on her mobile phone Sunday and asked her to talk to Chief Minister Shibu Soren and convey their message regarding their demands. Juli met Soren Sunday night along with her four-year-old daughter.
“I have conveyed their (Maoists) message to the chief minister as suggested by Maoists. We appeal to them (Maoists) to release my husband for the sake of my daughter and for me. Please release my husband,” pleaded Juli.
Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren held a meeting with two Deputy Chief Ministers Raghubar Das and Sudesh Mahto. “The state government is ready for talks with Maoists. No issues can be sorted out by abducting innocent officials. We appeal to Maoists to release the official to create an environment for development where officials can work without fear,” Soren said Monday.
Inspector-General of Police (Operation) D.K. Pandey is camping in Jamshedpur and monitoring the operation against Maoists to ensure the official’s release.CPI-Maoist leader Mangal in a statement to local media took responsibility and said that the People’s Liberation Guerrillas Army (PLGA) had “arrested, not abducted” Layak. — IANS