Members of a left wing extremist (LWE) outfit active in Jharkhand’s Khunti district torch four vehicles engaged in road construction work in the early hours of Sunday with start of the two days Maoist bandh.
CPI-Maoists and rival outfit People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI) have announced 48 hours bandh starting from Saturday-Sunday midnight. The bandh has been called by the banned outfits to protest against massive operations being conducted by security forces against LWE outfits in the state and alleged torture on villagers after branding them members or supporters of banned outfits.
Eyeing the bandh, Jharkhand Police headquarters have directed the security forces to be on high alert. Combing and search operations are being conducted in LWE affected areas to thwart nefarious designs of the rebels.
“Forces have been deployed in all strategic locations to prevent any damages to government properties including railways. Helicopters have pressed in for air-surveillance during the two days bandh,” said Jharkhand director general of police (DGP) Rajeev Kumar.
He added that joint forces are carrying out regular operations in Maoist and PLFI dominated areas.
Security forces including West Singhbhum district police and CRPF recovered a 40 kilogram can-bomb from a road in Saranda, planted by the CPI-Maoists, to cause damage to forces. A senior police official said if the Maoists had managed to blow the improvised explosive device (IED), it could have caused a major damage to the forces.
The four vehicles torched on Sunday included three JCB machines and a car of the construction company engaged in construction work of Khunti-Siladaon road. No outfit claimed responsible for the incident.
“It is yet to ascertain which group or outfit is behind the act. Search and combing operations are being conducted in the area to nab the people behind the criminal act,” said Khunti SP Anish Gupta.
This is the first time when the two rival outfits (CPI-Maoist and PLFI) have called bandh for the same cause. More than 500 people have been killed in the fraternal war between the two outfits. CPI-Maoist has its presence in 18 districts out of 24 and the PLFI have its dominance in at least 8 districts.