Jamshedpur, May 7: An armed squad of CPI(Maoist) torched a dumper transporting uranium ore to a plant belonging to Uranium Corporation of India in Ghatshila around midnight last night, prompting the PSU to knock on the doors of the police for extra security.
The rebels, around 15 in number, had their faces covered with cloth when they intercepted the dumper near Bakra bridge on Mosabani-Bagjata Road, about 45km from Jamshedpur.
According to the driver, who was asked to get off, the rebels used an axe to puncture the fuel tank, soaked a piece of cloth in the diesel as it leaked profusely and then set the dumper ablaze.
“The uranium ore-laden dumper had been intercepted by the rebel squad 10 minutes after it had left Bagjata mines around 12.30am,” said SP (rural) Shailendra Kumar Srivastava, adding that driver Chotu Hembram reported the matter to the Mosabani police station, around 7km from the spot, only this morning.
Police and paramilitary forces launched combing operations immediately after receiving the complaint. “We have started anti-insurgency operations in the Mosabani forest area,” said Srivastava.
According to the SP, the police suspect the involvement of the Maoists’ Tuddu squad that may have worked in tandem with the Kanhu Munda squad active in Ghurabandha.
The rebels had been maintaining a low profile in Ghatshila since the last few years, confining their activities to circulating inflammatory posters and pamphlets.
Last night’s incident was the first attack in four years.
UCIL officials expressed concern and are apprehending a disruption in transportation of ore from their Bagjata mines to their Jadugora plant for a while.
According to UCIL’s public relations officer Pinaki Roy, the management held a meeting with senior police officials who had assured them of providing escorts to the private company handling ore movement from the mine to the plant.