More than a week after they shot dead a Central Reserve Police Force ( CRPF) Deputy Commandant Harikant Jha in the jungles of Jamui, bordering Bihar-Jharkhand, the banned ultra outfit CPI (Maoist) has threatened retaliatory action if one of the arrested members Reena Koda, the wife of self-proclaimed Maoists’ zonal commander Siddhu Koda, was tortured in judicial custody.
Reena was apprehended by the central paramilitary forces before she could escape, when she was changing her uniform. She was arrested with her firearms. Prior to her arrest, it was Reena who fired at Jha when he was reloading magazine in his assault rifle. Jha, who was six feet tall, was hit on his head. The deputy commandant died on the spot.
The Maoists have now threatened retaliatory action if Reena, who is reportedly pregnant, is tortured in the judicial custody. “She is not able to walk properly due to internal injuries sustained at the hands of the police and CRPF men during interrogation. We will be forced to take retaliatory action against the family members of security personnel, if torture of Reena is not stopped,” said Avinash, the spokesperson of the Bihar-Jharkhand regional-zonal committee of the CPI (Maoist).
Claiming responsibility for the July 5 ambush at Khalari forest in which the CRPF deputy commandant was killed, the rebel said the Maoists fought bravely under the leadership of Siddhu Koda and, though outnumbered by the CRPF and the police, the ultras gave the security personnel “a befitting reply.” Last week, Jha got an alert from his counterpart in Giridih (Jharkhand) that the Maoists had assembled on the Bihar-Jharkhand border and were planning a major attack. The CRPF top cop, after cross-checking the input, planned a joint operation. By then Reena, a frail-looking woman but highly-skilled in guerrilla warfare, constituted a group of women and children and formed a shield before coming on the front. The security forces were proceeding towards Bakhri village in Jamui district at that time. “Reena fired at Jha when he was reloading magazine in his assault rifle. Since the officer was tall, the bullet hit him on his head. The cop died on the spot. In the melee that followed, the Maoists got ample time to flee through the difficult hilly terrain. The Maoists were well versed with the topography of the area, and therefore managed to escape,” said the source.