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2 rebels held in 72 hours

- Success at Porahat, setback in Jhumra

Bokaro, Jan. 16: Arrest of two Maoist leaders and seizure of a few arms and ammunition were the only achievements of the security forces during a 72-hour anti-rebel operation in Jhumra. Prized catches like Kundan Pahan and Navin Majhi managed to elude the police.

Acting on inputs that top Maoist leaders like Pahan, Majhi, Ajay Mahto and Sanjay Mahto besides a few rebels from Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Bengal were planning to convene a high-level meeting near Jhumra hillocks, the police top brass ordered Operation More (Peacock) from January 13. According to sources, North Chotanagpur IG M.L. Meena, coal belt DIG Laxman Singh, Bokaro SP Kuldeep Dwivedi and commandant of 26th Battalion of CRPF Imran Mallik took the decision after undertaking aerial survey of the zone several times.

According to ASP P.K. Krna, the operation was christened thus as villagers of Simrajora have domesticated two peacocks in the area. More than 100 CRPF personnel, JAP jawans and men from three police stations took part in the exercise. However, only two Maoists were arrested from Simrajora village near the hillocks yesterday.

They are Maoist area commanders Janki Mahto and Moti Mahto, who played an instrumental role in the attack on CRPF and Cobra jawans on September 27, last year. Two Cobra jawans were shot dead in the incident. Several other cases are pending against Janki and Moti at the police stations of Bokaro, Girdih and Hazaribagh districts.

On information provided by them, police later seized two can bombs, a claymore explosive, a pipe bomb, a countrymade rifle, several feet of wires and Maoist literature from a house in Simrajora.

“As soon as the security forces swung into action, the assembled Maoists got a tip-off and split into small groups. Some of them fled to Bengal through Sewati hills while others escaped to Ramgarh through Petarwar, Vishnugarh and Giridih. The cadres took shelter in Jhumra villages,” a source said.

Coal belt DIG said the security forces were hot on the trail of the hiding Maoists. “Vital information has been gathered from the arrested leaders,” Singh added.

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