Jamshedpur, Dec. 24: MCC guerrillas had celebrated the “triumph” over their enemies —men in khaki — in the Saranda forests with a sumptuous feast prepared by villagers.
Two days after Thursday’s five-hour gun battle in which over a dozen policemen were killed, the extremists tucked into a meal of chicken and rice at Digha village — West Singhbhum district, police said today.
“The villagers of Digha had prepared food for the extremists,” sources in the police told The Telegraph over phone. “We are trying to figure out the reason why the villagers prepared food for them. It may be out of fear or it may even be that the villagers willingly agreed to feed the fatigued MCC men.” an officer said.
Striking another ominous note for the government, several headmen from villages known to be Naxalite-infested today stayed away from a meeting convened by the police.
Around 40 mundas attended the confidence-building meeting which was addressed by several senior police officers, including inspector general of police (operation) R.C. Kaithal and DIG (Ranchi) Bhavesh Thakur.
But the village heads of MCC strongholds like Bandgoan, Monoharpur, Sonua and Goelkera skipped the meeting, although they were invited.
“Their absence may be out of fear that the MCC may act with vengeance if they take part in the deliberations,” an officer said. “But we have decided to continue holding meetings with the mundas at regular intervals to garner their confidence in combating this problem. We are confident that we will be able to muster the support of all the headmen after some time,” he added.
The mundas who attended the four-hour meeting were asked to spell out their views in combating terrorism.
Since last morning, a team of the CRPF and the Jharkhand Armed Police had started carrying out searches to see whether any extremist is still holed up in the area.
“The search party has detained about 10 to 15 persons from the forest. They are being interrogated,” a source said.