The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rebel leader spills attack plans

Bokaro, Aug. 21: The attempt to assassinate home minister Sudesh Mahto at Silli was made at the behest of a local JMM leader, Amit Mahto, claimed arrested Maoist commander Loha Singh.

The rebel, known also as Sundar Lal Besra and Vinay, was presented before the media today by Bokaro SP Manvinder Singh Bhatia.

The JMM leader had lost the election to Sudesh Mahto of Ajsu and was seeking revenge after being beaten up by Ajsu workers, who were instigated by the minister, claimed the rebel. He had personally laid landmines with 25 kg of explosives at Silli, he told newspersons. The landmine, however, was detected by the police before Sudesh reached the road normally taken by him to return here.

The arrest of Vinay alias Loha Singh is deemed a major breakthrough by the police. “This is the first arrest we have made of someone who was involved in the attack on Jhumra hill-top on June 25 this year,” said the SP. And the rebel, who was the zonal commander of Kasmar Zalinga area, has been providing important insights into the Maoist organisation and operations, the SP added.

Significantly, the arrested commander admitted before newspersons this evening that he was disillusioned with the outfit that he had joined 13 years ago in 1993. He was arrested from his home, where he was resting, by a police team led by inspector P.K. Mishra, said the rebel. He was tired of leading a fugitive’s life, confessed the rebel, who claimed to be barely 25 years old, having joined the rebels at the age of 11.

The prize catch also provided the first authentic account of the assault on Jhumra, said to be the fiercest attack launched on any CRPF camp in the country.

The rebels, he said, were under the impression that there were 500 CRPF jawans in the camp although there were actually only a hundred of them there. The assault, therefore, was organised after mobilising more than a thousand people. It was a mistake committed by a woman, Renu Kumari, who was leading the women’s battalion, he claimed, that led to the failure of the plan to overrun the camp. While the attackers were expected to wait for a second signal before firing, the lady panicked and opened fire after the first signal itself, claimed Singh. That burst of firing elicited immediate retaliation by the CRPF jawans, which caught the rebels by surprise. In the three-hour gun-battle that followed, he lost Sunil Manjhi, Prabhu alias Utpal and Anju Kumari on his side. Two others, Deepak and Kuldip, were also seriously injured and could have died, he informed police. As many as 500 armed rebels were still in Jhumra, he said.

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