July 17, 2018

Maoists torch 6 sand trucks

Lakhisarai/Jamui: Maoists continue to create havoc in eastern Bihar districts, despite tall claims by the police that they had driven them away. On Friday night, armed Maoists targeted a convoy of trucks carrying sand near Jankidih-Beldarai village on the Bannu Bagicha-Mananpur main road and set six trucks on fire.

Drivers of four of those trucks somehow managed to flee from the spot and douse the flames later but two tracks were reduced to ashes. The area falls under the jurisdiction of Channan police station in Lakhisarai district.

“We were headed from Gopalpur side on our way to Bannu Bagicha,” said Kundan Kumar, a cleaner in one of the trucks. “When we reached the pipe bridge near Jankidih-Beldarai village, a group of rebels, including women numbering 50-60 and wearing uniforms, come out from the forest and torched out vehicle after pouring kerosene oil. Before torching the vehicles, they forced the drivers and cleaners to alight from the vehicles. Soon after they disappeared into the forest. Drivers of four trucks managed to drive off from the spot and douse the flames.

Lakhisarai superintendent of police (SP) Kartikaya K. Sharma told The Telegraph the incident seemed to be the handiwork of Maoists and could be related to levy. But nobody has lodged a complaint yet. “Earlier, the police had arrested some people who used to forcibly collect levy from trucks. The arrested persons had links with rebels and after their arrest, collection of levy from trucks stopped completely,” the SP said.

On Saturday morning, additional superintendent of police (operation) Pawan Kumar Upadhay reached the spot with additional police and CRPF personnel and began raids. He said eyewitnesses, mostly truck drivers, narrated the incident and confirmed that the attackers emerged from the forests. On April 14 last year, Maoists had torched seven trucks and killed the driver of an earthmover machine in Gantiya Ghat, from where sand was excavated.

Intelligence sources said armed outfits have been noticed in the forest areas of neghbouring Jamui district. A recent railway intelligence report claimed unknown people were seen alighting from trains at railway stations like Ghorparan and Narganjo on the Kiul-Asansol main section of Eastern Railways.

“The two stations are located inside the valley covered with dense forests and the forests are well connected with Giridhi district in neighboring Jharkhand,” a source said.

A top ranking police official in Jamui admitted on condition of anonymity that the police had information but because of inaccessible topography of the region, they could not conduct routine checks. “We learned from our sources that some woodcutters have seen armed men and women in the forests near Simultala. We are planning a mass combing operation jointly with para military forces in those areas,” the official said.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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