Maoists attack road project, burn earthmovers, tractors

Updated on Dec 12, 2018 12:16 PM IST

Latest attack comes after a lull in Latehar, one of the worst affected districts.

Vehicles that were set on fire by Maoists in the Saryu area in Latehar district on Monday.(HT Photo)
Vehicles that were set on fire by Maoists in the Saryu area in Latehar district on Monday.(HT Photo)
Hindustan Times, Latehar | ByVishal Sharma

The CPI (Maoist) has struck again in Jharkhand’s Latehar district, stalling construction work in a vital road project in Saryu-Garu, a remote region earlier considered to be a Maoist hotbed.

During the latest attack, the Maoists, numbering around 20, intercepted a convoy of earthmovers and tractors returning from the road construction project at Murpa Dabari village late on Monday evening.

The Maoists then got the vehicles parked on one side of the road and set them on fire. Three earthmovers and two tractors were gutted. The drivers, cleaners and workers were let off, but not before they were thrashed.

The motive for the attack is believed to be a demand for payment — a Maoist ‘levy’, so to speak, on development projects — which was not met.

MAOIST LEVY

The levy demanded by Maoists is usually a percentage of the cost of any project. The rates for this levy vary among different Maoist factions. Generally, most factions settle for 3% to %% of the project cost.

The Maoist outfits usually send a demand to the senior staff or managers of the company in charge of a project. Recently, they had sent a similar demand to the company carrying out this road construction project.

SEARCH UNDER WAY

Latehar, considered to be one of the districts worst affected by Maoist activities in Jharkhand, has recently witnessed a spurt in violence after a lull.

Confirming the latest attack, Latehar superintendent of police Prashant Anand said, “A massive operation is under way in the region to nab the Maoists involved in the incident.”

Panic gripped the area as most of the residents of nearby villages fled their homes soon after the attack. Those that remained refused to say anything.

The CPI (Maoist) had earlier burnt an earthmover at Baribandh, also in Garu, besides setting fire to vehicles in Balumath and Herhanj police station areas.

They had also killed a project munshi in Manika. It was said that this killing, too, was over the non-payment of levy demanded by the extremists.

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