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Nepal Maoists join Bihar raid

Patna, June 24: Several hundred Maoists raided a small hamlet, Madhuban, on Biharís border with Nepal yesterday in an orchestrated attack managed through walkie-talkies.

They targeted simultaneously two banks, a post office, a petrol pump and inevitably the police station, besides the houses of Rashtriya Janata Dal MP from Sheohar, Sitaram Singh, and two of his supporters.

State government sources claimed this to be the first joint operation carried out by Maoists in Nepal and India.

The guards at the banks and a CRPF jawan fired at the marauding Maoists and, outnumbered, paid with their lives. Police today claimed to have recovered the bodies of six Maoists. The attackers could have suffered higher casualties as the CRPF used mortars on the retreating rebels.

The extremists poured into the hamlet, around 60 km from Motihari (see map), from all sides around 1.30 pm and for the next one-and-a-half hours, had a free run of the place.

There were some women in salwar kameez and red dupattas while others wore jeans and tops. The latter were taken to be Nepalese.

The target of the attack was clearly Singh and the market complex owned by him. The market housed the two banks. Singh, who is a terror in the region, had received threats from the Maoists earlier. But he was away at the time of the attack.

The Maoists are believed to have escaped with Rs 12 lakh in cash from the branches of State Bank of India and Central Bank of India, the cash-box of the post office and the treasury at the block office.

They torched the police station and looted the armoury, besides ransacking the house of two supporters of the MP. They are also believed to have taken away an undisclosed amount of cash and jewellery from these houses.

The police claimed the Maoists used various modes of transport, including buses, jeeps and motorcycles. Many also reached Madhuban on foot.

This was a rare Maoist attack conducted in broad daylight. Nor did they ever choose so many targets simultaneously.

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