Lalpania (Bokaro), May 13: Operation Hilltop today found the biggest ever cache of explosives in the state from Jhumra Pahad and surrounding areas, which had become the impregnable training grounds for extremists of the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC).
Police sources said more than two quintals of explosives, including gelatine kept in two bags, which could have claimed 5,000 lives in one go, were traced on the basis of information provided by two MCC members who were arrested last night.
The raids which yielded the catch were carried out at Aman, Belsarwa and four other villages. “Also recovered were 56 grenades, 16 iron drums filled with dynamite, 342 cartridges, 34 detonators, 166 pairs of police uniform, 63 electro-circuits used in preparing land-mines and 56 grenade pins,” a source said.
The operation is being jointly conducted by the CRPF, the Jharkhand Armed Police and personnel of district police. The MCC had gained complete control of Jhumra Pahad on September 5, 1994, after a gun battle.
“Among those who provided the information were an MCC zonal commander and a leading woman activist (name withheld). These two were with the MCC team which looted the police armoury at Chandrapura railway station on April 14,” a police officer said. He added that they were arrested from Chirubera and Bankatwa villages, respectively.
The number of those arrested so far has gone up to 86, including three zonal commanders and 12 sub-zonal commanders arrested from Bendi, Kharna, Khargaon, Lugu, Bankatwa-Basantpur, Layo-Basantpur, Simrabera, Pachmo, Arwan and Charcharia villages.
With the information about the operation being leaked out, the majority of guerrillas deserted the training camps.
At Chirubera, regarded as inaccessible so far, the police captured a big house where 200 people were trained simultaneously.
Sources claimed the prize catch was a black diary which has the names of persons, including politicians, who helped the rebels receive money and arms. “The police also found blueprints of two maps which has details of possible escape route of the extremists from Jhumra Pahad, Jhamubera, Kurkutiya Bendra to Parasnath Hills and the other escape route from Gola Hansapora to Sewati hills in Bengal,” police sources claimed.
The other villages raided today were Ghamghrawa, Arwan, Swarketwa, Lalpania and six villages situated atop Jhumra Pahad.
A senior officer said at Lalpania, which has turned into a police camp, that the police were expecting to recover huge quantities of explosives late tonight from a village near Basantpur.
Late in the evening, police sources said three more rebels were held in Simra-Bera and Pachmo villages.