Police on Thursday busted an arms factory of a banned Maoist outfit in Jharkhand’s Simdega district, barely hours after the arrest of a gun-maker with alleged links to a jailed legislator.
Coming few days after a new BJP government took charge in the state, the police action signaled an all out war on Maoist outfits, in line with the Centre’s zero tolerance policy against Leftist rebels. 21 out of Jharkhand’s 24 districts are affected by left wing extremism.
Simdega superintendent of police Rajiv Ranjan Singh said the raid yielded gun-making materials at the factory in Jaldega, about 60 km from the district headquarters.
He said the factory was being operated by the People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI), a splinter outfit of the CPI (Maoist).
The PLFI was formed in existence in 2002-2003 after a group split from the parent CPI-Maoist. It was banned in 2011.
On Wednesday night, police had arrested a gun-maker from Bihar and two PLFI linkmen from an SUV when they were allegedly returning after meeting Kolebera legislator Enos Ekka, lodged in Simdega jail since November on charges of murdering a teacher.
Sources said that the arrests have tightened the noose around Ekka, under police scanner for a long time for his alleged links with the Leftist rebel group.
Incidentally, the seized SUV– with VIP registration number JH09H-0001 -- also belongs to the MLA, who had contested and won the recent polls from jail.
The SP said that an FIR has been lodged against Ekka for allegedly aiding a banned outfit and giving shelter to militants.
The SP also said the factory was running for the past 20 days and at least three rifles were “almost ready for use”. The materials could have been used for making at least 150 rifles and pistols, he said.
Ekka, 45, is a three-time legislator and a former minister in the Madhu Koda cabinet.
Besides Ekka, other legislators too have been accused of supporting rebel outfits including former Barkagaon legislator and ex-minister Yogendra Sao, who is also in jail.