Security forces patrol the forests of West Singhbhum
Jamshedpur, Sept. 5: The Maoist camp that paramilitary forces and police personnel destroyed at Tebo valley in Bandhgaon yesterday was one of the largest to be ever set up by rebels in West Singhbhum. Spread over half a kilometre, it had the capacity to host as many as 500 rebels at a time.
The details emerged today, with police confirming that wanted Maoist Kundan Pahan was present at the camp when the security personnel struck on Tuesday and is believed to have also taken part in the gun battle before escaping along with his comrades.
West Singhbhum SP Pankaj Kamboj, who had visited the site where search operation is still on, said: “The camp was made of tarpaulins and bamboos. High-powered generator sets had been installed to supply electricity to it. There was separate enclosures, including dormatory, a bathroom for women rebels and a section for medical care.”
According to the SP, from the camp’s layout, it appeared that the Maoists had meant to use it for conducting armed training of its cadres, manufacture explosives and holding regular meetings.
“As the camp was located atop a hill, there was no watchtower as such. But it was well-fortified and guarded by six pickets set up at strategic locations. The pickets were manned by armed rebels 24X7,” Kamboj said.
Apart from the eight landmines found at the spot yesterday, police and paramilitary forces have been able to recover rebel uniforms, explosives, food items and Maoist literature among other items.
Kamboj further said the camp was under the direct control of Kundan Pahan, the sub-zonal commander of CPI(Maoist), who was a regular visitor to it, as Tebo was located close to his village in Arki block, and also Tamar.
“Even on Tuesday morning, when the encounter began, Pahan was very much present at the camp. He even took part in the gun battle, which lasted for over eight hours, after which the rebels fled,” he said, adding that the Maoists might have also suffered some casualty.
Around 100 rebels were present at the camp at the time of the encounter.
“After speaking to local villagers, we gathered that several rebels were hit by bullets fired by paramilitary jawans, but the dead or injured were carried away by the fleeing Naxalites,” he added.