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Toddler in Maoist squad

Jamshedpur, March 17: West Singhbhum police have learnt about the startling tale of a two-year-old who was born into and is living with a Maoist armed squad in Porahat, the discovery made during the pursuit of an area commander and revealing the plight of women in the outlawed outfit.

The fact came to the fore after a contingent of police and CRPF personnel carried out combing operations at Kudabera jungle in Sonua following a two-hour encounter with the Maoist squad on Friday.

The jungle falls in Sonua police station area, under Porahat forest division, and is over 200km from Jamshedpur.

The forces were trying to hunt down CPI(Maoist) area commander of Porahat Prasad Munda, 43, alias Aheer Munda, who is wanted in connection with over 50 cases of murder and abduction.

SP Pankaj Kamboj told The Telegraph that the child belonged to a 20-year-old woman who was raped by Prasad three years ago. Since then, the rebel leader did not allow her to return home.

“We came to know of the child’s presence after we found his clothes at a temporary Maoist camp in the dense Kudabera jungle. When we questioned local villagers, we came to know that Prasad had fathered the child. The mother has been seen in combat fatigue, accompanying other members of the squad,” Kamboj said.

The woman and her child were in Kudabera when a gun battle was being fought between the rebels and security forces on Friday afternoon.

The SP said a couple of Maoists sustained bullet wounds during the encounter. He added that one of them captured by police died at a referral hospital in Sonua.

“The child too could have easily fallen prey to our bullets during the encounter that lasted two hours,” he added.

The joint forces are continuing the anti-Maoist operation in Porahat, a rebel hotbed. Kamboj said the hunt for Prasad’s 18-member squad was on.

The police have been on the area commander’s trail ever since the death of six villagers on March 12.

Kamboj said the victims, all residents of Manmaru in Tebo police station area, had killed two persons of Kudabera following a cockfight gambling dispute on March 3. One of the two was a Maoist. Prasad retaliated by killing the six, the SP added.

The Maoist leader even forced residents of Manmaru to carry the bodies to a mountaintop, about 25km away in Kudabera, for burial.

Police have exhumed the bodies, which were sent for post-mortem to Chaibasa Sadar Hospital today.

Kamboj said they would register separate cases against those involved in the twin murders.