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Red threat spurs villagers’ night patrol

Patna, Sept. 9: The residents of Vishrampur under Shivsagar police station in Rohtas district are spending sleepless nights patrolling their village following a threat from armed guerrillas of the CPI(Maoist) to Ugravad Virodhi Manch (an anti-Naxalite forum) leader Amrendra Kumar Singh alias Guddu Singh.

Singh received a threat to his life after he appeared in the court of additional district and sessions judge-II at Sasaram pertaining to a case against 10 dreaded Maoists. The rebels were held after a fierce gunbattle between police and the Maoists in 2005. The villagers led by Singh, an affluent farmer, had helped the police in the operation.

“I have asked the deputy inspector-general, Sahabad, and the superintendent of police of Rohtas to provide security to me and my family members. I have also asked the officers to set up a police picket at the village as the Maoists have threatened to teach the villagers a lesson for their ‘audacity’ to give evidence in the case against their cadres,” Singh told The Telegraph over phone.

The village under the foothills of Kaimur has a population of about 2000.

“We have intensified night patrolling after the Maoists threatened the Manch leader when he was returning home after appearing in the court on September 6,” said a Ramesh Singh, a resident of the village. Mostly, the youths patrol the borders of the village in groups.

As the villagers have been waging a war against the Naxalites, the administration has provided arms licence to about 200 residents. Rohtas superintendent of police Vikas Vaibhav said he had asked the policemen posted at Baddi police outpost to escort the witnesses to the court on the scheduled dates.

“It is not possible to set up a police picket at the village. But, we are keeping a close watch on the activities of the rebels in the region,” the SP said, adding that all precautionary measures were being taken in the wake of the threat to Singh.

Additional Public Prosecutor (APP), Sasaram, Om Prakash also confirmed that letters seeking police protection to the witness in the Baddi police station case (number 43/05) had been dispatched to the police officials.

A police rifle, bombs and Naxalite literature were seized during the police operation on March 27, 2005, he said.

In all, the 10 Maoists identified as Chhotelal Ram, Lalan Kharbar, Bhikhari Pasi, Krishna Ram, Dasai Ram, Ajay Ram, Uma Ram, Sandesh Koeri, Vikas Kharbar and Manoj were taken into custody in the joint operation carried out by the CPRF and the policemen posted at Chenari and Shivsagar police stations.

Earlier, the Maoists had set on fire Singh’s bus (BR24A-5405) near Baulia in the district in 2006 to pressurise him not to depose in the case.

“The villagers decided to pick up arms against the Naxalites after the latter imposed an economic blockade on the farm land and demanded Rs 1 lakh as levy from each farmer in 2003,” Singh said.

Besides Ugravad Virodhi Manch, two other groups, Kaimuranchal Vikas Manch and Kaimur Shanti Sena, are fighting Maoists operating in Rohtas-Kaimur region, about 170 km south of Patna.

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