Hazaribagh, May 2: A notorious rebel leader, who once took up arms against the Maoists, and his aide were gunned down near Hazaribagh town early this morning, in an incident that police termed as an outcome of turf war between two rival outfits.
Zonal commander Badal Munda of Jharkhand Prastuti Committee (JPC) — a breakaway faction of the CPI(Maoist) — had gone to meet his associate Ashok Oraon at Kusumba village when four men opened indiscriminate fire on the duo, killing both on the spot.
Badal, a farmer-turned rebel, was wanted in more than three dozen cases of murder and extortion.
Sources said Ashok had called Badal to Kusumba Chowk in front of NTPC office, some 11km from the district headquarters, around 6.30am when the incident took place.
Badal took four bullets — one in the head, two in the chest and one in the right leg. Ashok, on the other hand, was hit in his head.
Pelawal police recovered two empty bullets from the spot and sent the bodies to Hazaribagh sadar hospital for postmortem.
DSP Arvind Kumar Singh said preliminary probes suggested involvement of Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC), another splinter group of the Maoists.
Badal’s elder brother Jagnath Munda, who came to the sadar hospital to claim his body, said theirs was a farmer’s family, who led a simple life at Banadag village in Chatra till 2003. Badal was like any other youth, he added.
“The reign of terror unleashed by the Maoists in their area changed their world. The Maoists torched their house in 2003 and Badal joined JPC to take revenge,” he recalled.