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Hunt for rebels in temple hills

Hazaribagh, Jan. 31: State police and CRPF have stepped up combing in Parasnath Hills in the aftermath of a recent ambush on a rescue team at Dhaulkatta forest on Giridih-Dhanbad border.

A large contingent of security forces went to the forest on January 26 following the hostage of four persons, including a Prime Minister’s rural development fellow, on January 25.

The Maoists, who used the hostages to bait securitymen, had laid a trap of landmines in the forest, some 65km from Giridih headquarters. They triggered 22 landmine blasts one after another that killed Badal Mandal of CRPF battalion 22 on the spot and injured 14 others.

Though the hostages were released after the blasts on January 27, the police and CRPF personnel have intensified the operations in Parasnath Hills, known to be a safe hideout of Maoists.

Superintendent of police (SP), Giridih, Kranti Kumar refused to disclose details about the “massive operation” going on at the hills.

“Our operation will continue until we sanitise the area completely,” he added.

Sources said after the ambush, security personnel spoke to local villagers and scrutinised various intelligence inputs to reach to the conclusion that Maoists had operated from their hideouts in Parasnath Hills.

Also, the four hostages — PM’s fellow V. Sai Vamsi Vardhan and three MGNREGS workers who were kidnapped at gunpoint from Pirtand block of Giridih — were kept at some hideout on the hills for 48-hours.

After their release, the four victims told police that Maoists had made all arrangements at the place on the hills. The hostages were given food, blankets and sweets, sources said.

“Some top ranked commanders were monitoring the encounter from that particular hideout. And after the blasts, they left the place,” added a CRPF officer, who was part of the rescue operation.

On the basis of these inputs, the police are learnt to have chalked out an elaborate strategy and intensified the operation since Wednesday evening.