| The torched road roller in Kaimur. Picture by Sanjay Choudhary |
Patna, Feb. 27: Armed members of the Maoist struck again at the base camp of a road construction company in Naxalite-affected Kaimur district on Saturday night and set on fire equipment and other materials.
The police said around 100 heavily armed Maoists attacked the base camp of a construction company at Amarpur Buchcha village under Bhagwanpur police station in the midnight and torched a JCB machine and a road roller.
The rebels had demanded a huge sum as levy from the private construction company, which had been awarded contract for construction of road between Bhagwanganj and Bachcha. The Maoists had threatened the contractor with dire consequences before they left the spot.
On getting information, a police team led by assistant superintendent of police rushed to the spot. On seeing the police, the Maoists opened fire. The police also retaliated. However, no one was injured in the exchange of fire, which continued for about two hours.
Kaimur superintendent of police Umashankar Sudhanshu said a combing operation had been launched in the area to apprehend the Maoists involved in the incident. “Earlier in the day, the police had visited the spot and inquired about the assemblage of the Maoists,” he added.
Sources said the Maoists stayed at the base camp of the company for about two hours, cooked food and dined there. Later, they asked the munshi (accountant) to inform their employer about the payment of levy. The munshi was thrashed when he expressed his helplessness, sources said.
On Friday, the Maoists had brutally beaten up an employee of another construction company associated with Durgawati reservoir when he was supervising the work near Panapur. The construction company has been awarded contract for the construction of a bridge, sources said.
The police lodged a case on the basis of the statement of the victim Vijay Mall Yadav, a resident of Taraon. The demand of levy from the construction companies has created panic among the employees and the contractors, who have demanded adequate security for completion of their projects.
Panic runs high
Police have sounded a high alert in Banka, Munger, Jamui and Bhagalpur districts, apprehending possible retaliation by Maoists in retaliation to the killing of six of their comrades in Banka yesterday.
Alleging the killing to be a cold-blooded murder by the police, the Maoists’ spokesperson, Avinash, condemned the incident. Maoists have called for a two-day dusk-to-dawn bandh in the districts of eastern Bihar from February 28 against the incident.
Yesterday, a joint police force shot dead six Naxalites and arrested a rebel from Majhidih hamlet under Jaipur outpost of Katoria police station in the district. Police are, however, yet to ascertain the identity of five of the dead bodies.
Avinash, however, told reporters over the phone that no innocent villager would be punished by the organisation. “We will certainly avenge the killing and no person involved in the incident would be spared,” he said. He added that emergency services would be kept out of the purview of the two-day bandh.