Emboldened by killing more than 50 paramilitary and police personnel in Jharkhand in the past last six months, the Communist Party of India (Maoist) on Monday threatened Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
Upset with the Congress declaring it a terror outfit, Anupji, party commander for Jharkhand, issued a communiqué to the media in Garhwa district, 300 km west of state capital Ranchi.
The press release, issued late on Monday, warned Jharkhand-based Congress leaders to quit the party or face the consequences.
“Both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi will meet the same fate as former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi,” said the release.
Taking serious note of the communiqué, a senior IPS officer said, “Maoists have been releasing communiqués in the past also. However, it is for the first time they have threatened the prime minister and the UPA chairperson.”
Director General of Police Vishnu Dayal Ram, however, raised doubts over the authenticity of the release. “It might be the handiwork of little-known criminals. Still, we have directed the troops to be extra alert across the state.”
Three months back, during the last parliamentary election, five CRPF jawans were killed in a gunbattle some 30 km away from Sonia’s rally site in Khunti district. Police later carried out a combing operation that yielded no results.
The Naxalites — recently banned by the Centre — wield considerable influence in 150 of India’s 600 districts. Since January, they have killed more than 200 security personnel in Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Maharashtra and West Bengal.
“What could we promise to a democratic set-up when political representatives are being threatened in such a way,” said former deputy chief minister Stephen Marandi.