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Cops ‘repulse’ 400 Maoists

Patna, March 31: Bihar police today claimed to have foiled a Maoist attack on a police station in Riga, around 100 km from state capital Patna.

Additional director-general of police Abhayanand said the better-equipped policemen repulsed the attack launched by about 400 Maoists.

Sitamarhi district police chief M.R. Nayak said the police station had received threats over the phone and through pamphlets and was targeted because of intensified patrolling in the area known to be a “safe zone” for the rebels.

But he denied initial reports that the Maoists had looted a bank in Riga, about 40 km from the Nepal border, before retreating.

The police and the Special Auxiliary Force comprising ex-army men have been deployed at strategic locations.

Police sources said the rebels struck around 6.30 this evening and tried to blow up a bridge linking Riga to Sitamarhi before advancing.

They launched a simultaneous attack on a bank and the police station, besides other government buildings like the block office.

But better communication, the officer added, helped the police to rush reinforcements from other police stations. Jawans from the Special Auxiliary Force were also mobilised, Nayak said.

The sources said the Maoists retreated before the police reinforcements reached, perhaps because they had failed to blow up the bridge completely and cut off the road link.

Had the bridge between Riga and Sitamarhi, 12 km away, been blown up, the police reinforcements would have had to take a detour to reach Riga.

Nayak said violence has escalated in the area bordering Nepal since the rebels in that country gave up arms.

There is evidence, he said, to suggest that Maoists from Nepal are pushing arms into Bihar and instigating disgruntled and unemployed rural youths to rise against the government.

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