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Rebels kill JMM man

Ranchi, Jan. 4: Two persons, one of them a former Maoist-turned-politician, were gunned down by rebels in separate incidents in Garhwa district last night.

At Kasmar in Ramkanda area of Garhwa, CPI(Maoist) rebels allegedly dragged out local JMM leader Jokhan Singh Kharwar (30) from his house, took him to a nearby school and shot him dead. The deceased was the block president of JMM’s youth wing.

“The Maoists went to his house at midnight and asked for an SLR gun and some money. When Kharwar expressed his inability to help them, the men got angry and dragged him out. They pumped in two bullets into him at the school. Kharwar died on the spot,” said a source.

Police said Kharwar still had links with Maoists after parting with the banned outfit around two-three years ago and used to collect levy on their behalf.

“I cannot say anything about the victim’s political affiliation. But we have information that he used to collect levy for Maoists and had links with them. The murder might have been the fallout of some dispute between the man and his former comrades,” said Garhwa superintendent of police Michaelraj S.

Senior JMM leader Vinod Pandey confirmed that Kharwar belonged to the party. “He was the block president of the party’s youth wing. But he did not have any association with the Maoists. Neither was he involved in collecting levy.”

A similar murder took place about 30km away, at Rampura village in Chinia block. “Ashok Thakur (30) was also shot dead by Maoists. In this incident too, the Maoists had dragged the victim out of his house after branding him a police informer around midnight and fired at him twice,” Michaelraj added.

In another incident in Kolebira area of Simdega district, PLFI members shot dead 25-year-old Jitendra Baraik after asking him to step out of his in-laws’ house.

Arms arrest

Two armed rebels were arrested from Naxalite-hit Chowka in Seraikela-Kharsawan on Friday. Gautam Soren, alias Gautam Majhi (22), and Ranjit Kumar Mahto (20), residents of Palna village, were wanted in connection with the firing on policemen on NH-33 near Chandil on December 23. Police have recovered two countrymade pistols and as many cartridges from them.