Maoist terror reigns along Jharkhand national highway

December 11th, 2008 - 10:04 am ICT by IANS  

Ranchi, Dec 11 (IANS) Maoist rebels have struck fear in the hearts of people residing along the national highway linking Jharkhand capital Ranchi to steel city Jamshedpur by murdering at least 10 security personnel and a politician in the area in the last 10 months.The latest in a series of attacks along National Highway 33 by members of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) was an ambush of five Special Task Force (STF) personnel near the Rahe police picket of Ranchi’s Bundu block last week.

On July 9, Janata Dal-United (JD-U) legislator Ramesh Singh Munda, along with four other people, was killed in a school in Bundu while he was speaking at a function.

On June 30, five security personnel, including a deputy superintendent of police, were killed on the highway in the Tamar block.

In May, Maoist rebels hijacked an ICICI bank delivery van and looted Rs.50 million near Tamar.

“We are afraid of travelling on the Ranchi-Jamshedpur national highway after six in the evening. It is only safe to use it in the day time,” said N.N. Singh, a Jamshedpur resident who works in Ranchi.

Villagers in the Bundu and Tamar blocks do not venture out of their homes after sunset except to attend meetings and plays organised by the Maoists to garner support.

“We are living in fear. It is a very difficult situation. Both the Bundu and Tamar blocks are under the grip of the Maoists. Everyone is scared to speak against the rebels given the fact that they have killed many security personnel and even a politician,” said Baikunth Mahto, a resident of Bundu.

Police officials said they suspect the role of Kundan Pahan, a Maoist commander active in the Bundu and Tamar areas, in the four incidents. They blamed the geography of the area and intelligence failure for not having been able to nab Pahan.

“The Bundu and Tamar areas have thick jungles and lie on the border with West Bengal. Maoists often hide in the jungles or sneak into the neighbouring state,” a police official said.

“It is a long battle. Last month, police killed a senior Maoist commander closely associated with Kundan Pahan in the area,” said police spokesperson S.N. Pradhan.

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