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Battlelines drawn in Red ‘liberated zone’

Patna, Sept. 3: Maoists have declared over two dozen villages located on the borders of Muzaffarpur, Sheohar and Sitamarhi districts as a “liberated zone”.

Red flags fluttering atop the houses greet visitors to these villages where police fear to tread even in daytime. The topography of the area has made the task of the police even more difficult.

The Maoists virtually run a parallel administration in the villages such as Giddha, Mangalpur, Turki Bazar, Gangati, Belahi and Siwaypatti in Muzaffarpur, Tariyani, Lahsurka, Gangadhar Mandal, Vishwambharpur and Narwara in Sheohar and Jafarpur, Rupauli, Dhansaur, Olipur and Surupatti in Sitamarhi.

The sources said the red rebels organise jan adalats (kangaroo courts) and run training camps in the villages along the Bagmati river. The Maoists collect a fixed levy from businessmen, brick kiln owners and contractors. They also recently launched an enrolment drive to recruit members.

The police, on the other hand, have confined their operation to a limited area. Local residents alleged there were villages which had not been visited by any policeman for a long time. “Any special drive is out of the question. Even policemen posted at the police station concerned don’t visit the site of occurrence of attack,” said a resident of Giddha, one of the worst Naxalite-affected villages.

Frequent incidents of torching the equipment of private firms engaged in construction of roads and government buildings besides towers of telecommunication companies have prompted the state police headquarters to issue fresh directives to district officials to launch a drive against the Maoists.

“We have launched a massive operation in these villages, considered to be a stronghold of the Maoists, in the bordering areas of Muzaffarpur, Sheohar and Sitamarhi districts on the directive of the state police headquarters,” said B.S. Meena, deputy inspector-general, Tirhut range.

Meena said around 600 police personnel of the CRPF, STF, SAP and district armed police have been engaged in the operation. “Each police team will have at least 150 jawans and will be led a deputy superintendent. They have been asked to carry out search operations in inaccessible villages,” he said.

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