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Night vigil to keep Maoists at bay
- Forces on guard at Patamda, Bodam villages

Jamshedpur, June 22: Reports that the Dalma squad of CPI(Maoist) is trying to stage a comeback at remote villages of Patamda and Bodam have put security personnel on their toes ahead of the Jamshedpur Lok Sabha bypoll.

Police and paramilitary forces have started night patrolling in the two blocks of East Singhbhum district, which had not witnessed any major Naxalite activity in the past one and a half years.

However, according to intelligence inputs, a squad of Maoists, led by area commander Sachin, has been frequently visiting villages like Chemta and Koeira in Bodam and Beltar and Gobarbhusi in Patamda of late in a bid to bring the residents under their wings.

“We have information that Sachin’s squad is trying to develop contacts with the villagers. Sometimes, the rebels carry firearms and enter the hamlets in the garb of villagers. This way, they are trying to establish their sway in the region,” said an intelligence officer.

He added that the rebels might have renewed their efforts to make a foray into Patamda and Bodam in view of the by-election to the Jamshedpur Lok Sabha seat. “This is not good news. The Maoists, if allowed to spread their spread, will prove to be a hindrance in conducting free and fair election,” the officer warned.

Commanding officer of CRPF’s Battalion VII Sanjay Kumar Singh confirmed to have begun night patrolling in the difficult terrain of Patamda and Bodam. “We had been carrying out long-range patrolling in the jungles during daytime, but now we have started night exercises as well. Security forces are camping all night at those villages, which Naxalites are reported to have visited,” said the commanding officer. The personnel are instilling confidence among the villagers and at the same time, thwarting entry of rebels, he added.

According to intelligence sources, Maoist area commander Sachin is a resident of Jhunjka village in Patamda. “Being a local resident, he is easily accepted by the people. This is a new tactic that the Maoist leadership adopted after the death of former area commander Arup Mochi, who hailed from West Midnapore district of Bengal,” said a source.

Notably, Patamda is drawing a string of politicians in the run-up to the July 1 by-election. Though the Maoists have not yet issued a poll boycott diktat yet, there are apprehensions of them triggering violence before or during the election process.

Meanwhile, a meeting of deputy inspector-generals of police of Bengal, Orissa and Jharkhand took stock of poll preparations yesterday. Several key decisions related were taken at the meeting held in Ghatshila.

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