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Dead cops fell prey to road report ignorance

Nabinagar (Aurangabad), Dec. 5: Call it a sheer negligence or coincidence all the eight security personnel killed in the landmine blasts on the Nabinagar-Tandawa road would have been alive today had the district authorities taken a view of the proposal to repair the damaged road.

Ajay Kumar, 32, the station house officer (SHO) of Tandawa police station, was among the eight security personnel killed in the landmine explosion triggered by Maoists on December 3.

The outgoing station house officer of Nabinagar police station, Raj Kumar, had submitted a proposal to the district headquarters for repair of the 7-km stretch between Nabinagar and Tandawa about six months ago. The proposal also got the seal of then Nabinagar block development officer (BDO) Surendra Kumar Singh.

BDO Singh, who was recently transferred to Sonepur in Saran district, confirmed the proposal for repair of the damaged road and said it was discussed at length before being sent to the district headquarters for approval.

“However, nothing happened and the commuters were left to fend for themselves,” he said.

Singh also expressed shock over the death of the Tandawa SHO Ajay Kumar in the explosion.

“I used to travel with Ajay. We had crossed the road where the landmines were planted underground time and again with the slain police officer. It is shocking to learn that Ajay, a young police officer, is no more,” he told The Telegraph.

Nabinagar circle officer Nagendra Kumar said he was scared of travelling on the roads, which have developed potholes.

“But we have no option. Bhagwan ko yaad karke phir chale hain (we pray to the Almighty before travelling on such roads),” Kumar said, adding that the condition of the road connecting Mali to Nabinagar was similar.

Raj Kumar, the former SHO of Nabinagar, said he had prepared a list of roads in bad condition and submitted a detailed report to the district police headquarters. The list was prepared on the former superintendent of police Daljeet Singh’s instruction after the latter visited the Nabinagar and Tandawa police stations for routine inspection.

Efforts to contact Aurangabad district magistrate Abhijeet Sinha proved futile. However, strong resentment prevails among the men in uniform because of bad condition of roads in Maoist-hit areas. N.K. Singh, an assistant sub-inspector of police, who was deployed at the blast site, said the rebels found it easy to plant landmines in the roads having potholes and ditches.

Ravi Kumar, a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawan, said the blasts on the Nabinagar-Tandawa road were so powerful that even anti-landmine vehicle would not have saved the policemen. “I have earlier witnessed a similar blast in Sheohar district’s Shyampur Batahan police station in which the SHO and a few other cops were killed,” he said.

But the quantity of the explosives (improvised explosive device) used in the Sheohar blast was less compared to the blast at Nabinagar. Here each cylinder contained not less than 25kg,” he said.

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