Early Tuesday morning, a group of villagers found a decapitated body lying near a roadside ditch on the Ranchi-Jamshedpur highway.
Bodies are not uncommon in this Maoist-dominated area, about 30 km from Jharkhand capital Ranchi.
But a Hindi poster written in red ink stuck on a tree said it was Francis Induwar.
Maoist rebels kidnapped Induwar (50) on September 30 from Hembrom Bazaar in Khunti district, about 70 km from Ranchi. He went there to meet an informer. Inspector Induwar was a state police intelligence officer.
Inspector General of Police, Jharkhand, B.B. Pradhan said the motive behind the killing could not be ascertained.
Although the poster said, “It was a retaliatory action against the killing of Comrade Motilal Munda in a fake encounter”, the police are confused over beheading, as it is the way of the Taliban, not Maoists.
Home Minister P. Chidambaram said in Delhi on Tuesday: “The cold blooded murder is simply not acceptable. I condemn it.”
Induwar is survived by his wife, Sunita, and three school-going sons.
An angry and grieving Sunita said, “Had the police tried to deal with the situation tactfully, my husband would be alive.”
The Communist Party of India (Maoist), which has considerable influence in 220 of India’s 626 districts, is responsible for the death of more than 200 security personnel this year in Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Maharashtra and West Bengal.
In Jharkhand, the rebels have a presence in all the 24 districts. From January 2003 to October 6, 2009, Maoists have killed 339 policemen in the state.
Earlier, there were reports that the Maoists demanded release of their Politburo member Kobad Ghandy, Bhushan Yadav and Chhatradhar Mahato of the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities in West Bengal in exchange for Induwar.
The Union Home Ministry had refused any swapping deal, citing the anti-swapping policy adopted after the Indian Airlines aircraft hijack on December 24, 1999, when the government released Pakistani terrorists to save 176 passengers and had to take a lot of flak for the decision.
The police suspect that the Maoists’ Jharkhand Regional Committee member, Kundan Pahan, was behind the killing. He is active in the border areas of Ranchi, Khunti and East Singhbhum districts.