Bhimbandh forest (Munger), April 10: Little did head constable Vikram Singh of the CRPF’s 131 battalion know that rebels could engineer a fatal attack inside Bhimbandh forest area, a rebel bastion recently captured by the CRPF.
In a pre-planned ambush in the early hours today, rebels stunned security forces and killed two CRPF personnel on the Haveli Kharagpur-Jamui main road passing through the picturesque dense forests of Bhimbandh wildlife sanctuary. The attack has exposed Munger police’s tall claims of having driven the rebels back from their old stronghold in Bhimbandh after establishing the CRPF camp inside the forest. Top CRPF officials blamed the local administration for lack of coordination.
Geographically, the inaccessible Bhimbandh falls under Haveli Kharagpur police station in Munger but politically it is under Jamui Lok Sabha seat. “We were told to reach Gangta police station around 3.30am. We covered the 16-km distance from our base camp to the main road (Haveli Kharaghpur-Jamui road) on foot. There we were provided a Tata Magic microvan to reach our destination, the Gangta police station. After a brief stop at the Kunda Baba temple (a local deity) for worshipping, we set out and had not even crossed 200m when our vehicle inexplicably veered toward the left side of the road. As the wheels touched the main road, there was an explosion. We somehow survived it, but within no time the rebels rained a shower of bullets on the vehicle from behind the forest cover,” an injured Vikram Singh recalled. Two head constables, Sone Goda of Karnataka and Ravindra Roy of Bihar, sustained fatal injuries and died on the spot. The injured include Vikram, Ashok Besra, Dharmatma Kumar Singh, Bishwanath Ram, Raghvendra Singh, Dhrampal Singh and Monoj Kumar Yadav. According to Dr Akhilesh Kumar, in-charge at the Haveli Kharagpur primary health centre, the condition of Ashok Besra is serious. The injured CRPF personnel were airlifted to Bhagalpur for better treatment at JLNMC hospital.
Inspector-general of police (IGP), Bhagalpur range, Jitendra Kumar admitted to some lapses by CRPF. “We have started investigations, but it is clear the rebels targeted the CRPF knowing that most personnel from Bhimbandh camp had been deployed elsewhere on poll duty,” he said.
Also on Thursday morning, the rebels blew up Purushottampur High School under the jurisdiction of Kajra police station of Lakhisarai district, in Munger Lok Sabha seat. Polling is scheduled on April 17. Kumar said the police are fully prepared to conduct free and fair polls in Munger.
Following the attacks, forces and the police skipped patrolling in rural Jamui. “We are not getting any support from the local administration,” alleged a senior BSF official at Borwa School. But IGP Kumar said the Election Commission had barred them from providing local police to paramilitary forces. The police have been directed to guard polling booths, he said.
52 per cent polling
Jamui recorded nearly 52 per cent voting — from 38 per cent in 2009 — despite the Maoist threat. Voters in Manikthan and Bakhauribathan were angry with the district administration as they faced a tough task crossing the inaccessible 7-km road through dense forests to vote. Only three people had voted till 1.30 pm. “I’ve done my duty,” said Ramkumar Soren (40) of Chapalwa hamlet. He was returning after voting in Belatanrh, some 7km from his native place.