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Central eye on warring rebel outfits

I have categorically pointed it out before Jharkhand police and administration that the enemy’s enemy is not your friend
- K. Vijay Kumar (above), security adviser to Union home ministry,
on why using splinter groups against Maoists was a bad idea

Ranchi, Aug. 10: Jharkhand is a “very confused state” lacking political will and direction to solve the Left-wing extremism (LWE) crisis, senior security adviser to Union home ministry K. Vijay Kumar said in the wake of the Maoist carnage that killed 16 alleged Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC) members in Palamau on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday.

The incident assumes national importance as Prime Minister Narendra Modi will possibly visit the state on August 21. According to sources, Union home minister Rajnath Singh held discussions yesterday on the “situation” with former chief minister Arjun Munda and other senior BJP leaders from Jharkhand who had assembled in New Delhi for the party’s national council meeting.

Kumar, also the former director-general of Central Reserve Police Force, told The Telegraph over phone that the infighting among rebel groups to gain local supremacy was a kind of “civil war”.

Off the record, top policemen have conceded that they were “using” the TPC and People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI) in their fight against the CPI(Maoist).

Kumar candidly said this was a bad idea. “I have categorically pointed it out before Jharkhand police and administration that the enemy’s enemy is not your friend. For the simple reason that more than 50 per cent LWE violence is concerned with rebel factions like PLFI and TPC, among others,” Kumar said.

On August 4, on the floor of the Assembly during the monsoon session, chief minister Hemant Soren alleged that the TPC and PLFI in 2004 had been formed/supported by then director-general of police V.D. Ram, currently a BJP MP from Palamau, whose impact was being felt by the state.

Ram denounced the allegations, saying he had given a proposal to state to ban such organisations and the chief minister was being misled.

Munda defended his party colleague strongly.

“Instead of indulging in frivolous blame-game, the chief minister should take bold actions. He has made a mockery of the entire official machinery. Why should a commoner trust his government if the rebels regularly keep updating the mass media with their latest exploits?” he told The Telegraph.

As the home ministry’s security adviser at the Centre, Kumar refused to comment on Hemant’s words. But prodded, he only said it spoke volumes for the way things were going on in the state.

Vishrampur (Palamau) police reached Choti Kauriya village, where 16 alleged TPC rebels were gunned down, almost 12 hours after the incident, even though the thana is just 15km from the spot. Police could not even get hold of the corpses. Villagers said a TPC squad took away the bodies on a tractor on Saturday morning.

The Maoists have reportedly claimed responsibility for the killings, saying they avenged the incident of March 27, 2013. Then, the TPC reportedly killed 10 CPI(Maoist) rebels in Kunda area of Chatra district.

The entire gory incident shows the situation in the hinterland where police appear helpless in the face of infighting between rebel groups.

While the TPC has emerged as the main force to counter the CPI(Maoist) in Palamau, Chatra, Latehar and Garhwa, PLFI rules the roost in Khunti, Ranchi, Gumla, Simdega and Lohardaga.

However, director-general of police (DGP) Rajeev Kumar stressed that their anti-rebel operations had intensified and there were no lapses on their part in the gang war for supremacy between the CPI (Maoist) and Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC) outfits in Vishrampur.

“The case is simple. The Maoists have avenged the murders of their comrades. Our job now is to nab the culprits. We are doing our best,” DGP Kumar told The Telegraph.

Adding that the TPC took away the bodies, he said the police recovered only slippers, items of daily use, bloodstains and empty cartridges from the site on Saturday.

“We are not omnipresent. We carefully verify every tip-off and take appropriate action. In this case, no one informed us that the rebels had ventured inside the village. How do we know certain rebels have entered a remote village on a dark night?” he asked.

The DGP also chose to keep silent over Hemant’s “patronage” remark against former police boss and present BJP MP Ram. Instead, he said: “We deal with all rebel groups with an iron hand. Stray incidents do not mean that people have lost faith in the police.”


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