Ranchi, April 27: Sporadic Maoist violence in at least three districts, including the killing of a suspected police informer, occurred in the past 24 hours in a state where a bloody rebel ambush in Dumka on April 24 killed eight and injured 11, robbing it of a peaceful general elections tag.
Rebels gunned down a youth in the small hours today at Hariharganj police station area of Palamau, suspecting him to a police informer, said superintendent of police Y.S. Ramesh. However, the deceased’s identity has not yet been confirmed.
In Gumla district, the Maoist hand is indicated over the murder of a businessman.
Brick kiln owner Annu Gupta (55) is learnt to be shot by unidentified gunmen in the Gaghra police station area last evening. But Gumla SP Bhimsen Tuti maintained that involvement of rebel outfits could not be ruled out.
“About two years ago, Gupta had faced an abduction attempt. We have registered a complaint against unidentified gunmen and begun our investigations,” he added.
In Chatra, over 100 rebels also torched two earthmovers worth over Rs 1.5 crore at a stone crushing unit Hunterganj police station area in the small hours today.
The incident happened when Maoists stormed inside the unit and demanded meeting unit owners Kallu Singh and Munna Singh. When labourers said they did not have the cellphone numbers of their bosses, the frustrated rebels torched earthmovers and left behind hand-written pamphlets.
“It is clearly an outcome of levy demand. The site is close to Bihar’s Gaya district. We believe Gaya’s Maoist zonal commander is involved,” said Chatra SP Prashant Kumar Karn.
Chief minister Hemant Soren could not be contacted for comments.
His ministerial colleague and Congressman Rajendra Prasad Singh did speak on the incidents of rebel violence but preferred to pass the onus on Hemant.
“The chief minister himself is the only competent authority to comment on it (Maoist sponsored violence), since he heads the home department. He should give necessary directions to the home department,” Singh added.
The Opposition chose to go hammer and tongs, with the BJP even calling for an immediate dismissal of the weak state government.
BJP state president Ravindra Rai said rebels could go scot-free in Jharkhand with a “weak government” at the helm.
“Most people are taking the law in their own hands, because they feel that the state government is helpless. The governor (Syed Almed) should immediately dismiss such a spineless government, which has already lost majority support,” he added.
Despite repeated attempts, director-general of police Rajeev Kumar could not be contacted for his comments.
Inspector-general (provisions) and state police spokesman Anurag Gupta, however, argued it was too early to jump to any conclusion that that Naxalite activities had increased in the state right after the polls.
“These are stray incidents. Our boys are doing their jobs. You also need to take in account the conditions in the state that prevailed even six months or a year ago,” Gupta added.