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PLFI not a threat now

Ranchi, May 2: Odisha police did a great favour to their Jharkhand counterparts when they gunned down PLFI zonal commander Joydhar Gope in Rourkela on April 25.

The splinter rebel outfit, which had unleashed a reign of terror in Simdega district sharing border with the neighbouring state, is now expected to scale down its activities with the elimination of its top-rung leader, thus giving a chance to Jharkhand police to concentrate more on anti-Maoist operations.

“More than 80 per cent of Naxalite activities reported in Simdega in the past two years or so were carried out by PLFI members. Gope, one of the mainstays of the banned outfit, were the brains behind many of these incidents. He was wanted in more than 50 cases and it’s a relief that police have finally gunned him down. Now, we can concentrate more on anti-Maoist operations,” Simdega superintendent of police A.V. Minz told The Telegraph.

Another senior police officer posted in Simdega district elaborated how the PLFI had robbed them of sleep with their killing and looting spree.

“At Rugri village, two persons were killed by the PLFI on suspicion that they were Maoists a few weeks ago. But police inquiries revealed that the deceased did not have criminal antecedents. Such kind of violence had become frequent over the past couple of years,” the officer added.

“In Simdega, so long, we were busy dealing with rebels belonging to splinter groups, especially the PLFI, while the Maoists used the situation to strengthen their clout. Recently, there were reports that the CPI(Maoist) and the PLFI might come together. But now, such a possibility appears unlikely in the changed scenario.

“The PLFI may also take some time to select another zonal commander. We have got a golden opportunity to intensify our operations against the Maoists,” added another senior officer dealing with anti-Naxalite operations.

Jharkhand DGP Rajeev Kumar also admitted that the Maoists and their splinter groups have “neutralised” each other in most parts of the state. “Police will not show leniency to anyone. Anti-Naxalite operations are on in full swing. Except for the Shikaripara incident (five policemen and three poll officials were killed in a Maoist ambush in Dumka district on April 24), the Lok Sabha elections were peaceful,” he stressed.