| A burnt motorcycle at the officer’s house. Picture by Sanjay Choudhary |
Maoists blew up the ancestral home of a police officer in Naxalite-hit Aurangabad district late on Wednesday night. There was no report of any casualty in the incident.
This is the second incident of Maoist attack in the district within 24 hours.
Earlier on Tuesday night, the rebels had blown up a portion of railway tracks between Rafiganj and Ismailpur railway stations on the Gaya-Mughalsarai section of the East Central Railway, which caused disruption of the railway traffic for over seven hours.
Police said around 150 armed squad members of the banned Maoist outfit descended on the house of Kedar Nath Singh, station house officer (SHO) of town police station at Manjhauli village under the jurisdiction of Amba police station, around 11pm and triggered the blast by using can bombs and LPG cylinders.
The blast site is about 16 km south of Amba police station and located near the Bihar-Jharkhand border.
Aurangabad superintendent of police (SP) Upendra Sharma said the rebels first asked family members of the police official to vacate the building and then blew it up. The attackers did not harm any inmate of the house.
The Maoists left behind some pamphlets at the site, revealing that the incident was part of their strategy to damage property of police officials. Wednesday’s attack was reportedly carried out in retaliation against the death of two persons in police firing at Madanpur in Aurangabad district on Saturday.
In Saturday’s incident two persons, including a middle-aged woman, were killed and five others injured when police opened fire to disperse a mob. A police team had reached Madanpur block office to disperse the protesters, who had laid a siege to the offices of the block development officer (BDO) and the circle officer (CO) to protest the arrest of a resident for his alleged Maoist links.
The protesters pelted the men in uniform with stones and set a police vehicle on fire. A section of the protesters also exploded bombs on the government offices.
Initially, the police pressed baton charge and lobbed teargas shells to quell the mob, which was demanding unconditional release of a resident of Chhalidohan village. He had been taken into custody during operations a week ago and they demanded action against the police personnel involved in thrashing him, allegedly in police lock-up. The mob subsequently set the block office and the circle office on fire and chased the cops.
The rebels had called a 24-hour Magadh bandh, which was extended till midnight on Thursday. CPI(Maoist) spokesman Manas said the bandh was called to protest police brutality on innocent people.
The pamphlets pasted at different places described chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and Assembly speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary as anti-Dalit. The pamphlets said both leaders hail from the Dalit community and represent the areas where police atrocities have alarmingly gone up in recent times.
Innocent people are being arrested on frivolous charges after being branded as Maoists, the pamphlets said. To drive home their point, they highlighted alleged police excesses during special police operations in the villages considered to be hotbed of the Maoist activity.
Some residents told the police that SHO Singh has not visited his native village for the past four years. His elder brother, Ranvijay Singh, lives with his spouse, a son and a daughter in the building. A police officer who visited the spot on Thursday morning said Ranvijay had stocked valuables for the marriage of his young daughter.
“The family has virtually been rendered shelter less. They have lost foodgrain and clothes. The Maoists set all their belongings on and shouted anti-police slogans before feeling the spot around 1 am,” the police officer said, adding that the trend of targeting a police officer’s ancestral property was noticed for the first time in the region.
On Tuesday night, the rebels had damaged the mobile tower of a private cellular company at Mirganj village under the jurisdiction of the Madanpur police station. They fled the spot after beating up the watchman.