Ranchi, Feb. 26: Maoists today called a five-day statewide bandh from tomorrow and then withdrew it within hours after one of their comrades, feared to be in police captivity, showed up.
Ram Mohan Singh Munda, said to be the right hand of Maoist zonal commander Kundan Pahan in Bundu-Chandil zone comprising Ranchi and Seraikela-Kharsawan districts, had disappeared three days ago.
The Maoists, worried that police might have arrested him but were not willing to produce him before public, called a bandh this morning.
“The Maoists called a five-day Jharkhand bandh from tomorrow to mount pressure on police to produce Ram Mohan before court. But in the afternoon, Ram Mohan turned up and the bandh was called off,” the villager said.
Ranchi senior superintendent of police (SSP) Bhimsen Tuti admitted to the confusion over Ram Mohan’s disappearance.
“The fact is that police did not arrest Ram Mohan in the first place. Yet, we kept receiving calls from people, asking about his whereabouts,” he said.
A Bundu resident closely monitoring Maoist activities in Bundu-Chandil zone said the developments suggested that Ram Mohan was not safe in his own organisation.
“A dispute must have arisen over distribution and collection of levy, a prime source of Maoist earnings,” he added.
A police officer said that Ram Mohan, who hails from Bundu, had taken part in several Maoist operations, including the killings of former Tamar MLA and cabinet minister Ramesh Singh Munda and Bundu SDPO Pramod Kumar. “His septuagenarian father Gohan Singh Munda had once requested police to bring back his son, but nothing happened thereafter. He continues to support Maoists and is very close to Kundan Pahan,” he added.
As speculations continue over why Ram Mohan chose to go underground while keeping his comrades in the dark, security personnel reportedly carried out an operation in Rahe area of Bundu from where an engineer of a private construction company was abducted and released.
Pankaj Kumar Yadav was abducted on the night of February 13 and released on February 16.
“District armed police and CRPF jawans took part in the exercise to check movement of extremists in rural areas and jungles,” a Rahe resident said.
Sub-divisional police officer of Bundu Ram Sarekh Rai and superintendent of police (rural) S.K. Jha, who is in-charge of Bundu area, could not be contacted for confirming the reports.