The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bihar, Jharkhand brace for renewed rebel violence

Patna/Ranchi, April 10: The spurt in Maoist violence in Jharkhand and Bihar is being attributed to a tactical shift by the rebels.

At the 9th party congress of the underground rebels, claimed publicity material distributed by them, the cadre were clearly told, “no more hit and run. Now the time has come to spread in the towns and identify specific targets, hit them precisely and with impunity.”

And close on the heels of killing two RPF jawans on the Howrah-Mokama passenger train in Bihar, Maoists Tuesday morning blew up two school buildings in Munger, used till recently by a CRPF picket, shifted for poll duty to UP.

Over 100 Maoist guerrillas raided the Banahara village under Munger’s Haveli Khadagpur police station blowing up a high school and the adjacent middle school.

Confirming the incident, Munger superintendent of police Ravindran Shankaran told The Telegraph the Naxalites used dynamite to blow up the schools.

No casualty, however, has been reported as the attack took place in the wee hours when no one was present at the spot, the police said.

Paramilitary forces had occupied over 200 schools in central and south Bihar in the absence of proper places to stay impeding primary and secondary education. But following instructions by the state government, they have been vacating the schools of late.

A Bihar police official said in Patna that while Maoists had been lying low since Nitish Kumar won the election in 2005, the recent escalation is a matter of concern. He linked it to the Maoists joining the government in Nepal, saying: “It is too much of a coincidence.”

At Ranchi, IG D.K. Pandey, however, felt that having suffered reverses in Andhra Pradesh, the Maoists have fallen back to Jharkhand, Bihar and Chhattisgarh. Maoists from other states have come in, he claimed, swelling the ranks of the rebels.

“It appears the Maoists have launched a tactical counter offensive campaign in Jharkhand, under which they concentrate in a particular state for a certain period and undertake offensives,” maintained some analysts.

Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda is on record as saying that he is in favour of a dialogue with the Maoists. But the rebels are clearly not interested in a dialogue with him.

Koda is also coming under increasing pressure to deal with the Maoists firmly as the rebels hold out threats to politicians. After assassinating Jamshedpur MP Sunil Mahto, the rebels have issued a threat to eliminate deputy chief minister Sudhir Mahto as well.

Those Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leaders are being targeted, say analysts, who have publicly spoken in favour of the NSS, an organisation opposed to the Maoists. The rebels clearly do not want the NSS to spawn another Salwa Judum.

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