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Cops lose rifles in rebel sting

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Jamshedpur
  • Published 11.03.08
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Jamshedpur, March 11: Maoists today used chilly powder to attack Jharkhand Armed Police jawans at Chowka and steal three rifles from them.

Two of the rifles taken away from the Jharkhand Armed Police (JAP) jawans were Insas while the third was a self-loading rifle.

The incident occurred this afternoon under Chandil police station jurisdiction in Seraikela-Kharsawan district, triggering a sensation in the area.

The rebels then reportedly fled into the forests in Dinai hills near Urmal, about 5km from Chowka police station. Police and paramilitary forces have circled Dinai hills. When this report was being filed, heavy exchange of fire between the police and rebels was reported.

The superintendent of police (Seraikela-Kharsawan), Laxman Prasad Singh, confirmed that rebels had stolen three sophisticated rifles.

The attack occurred around 3pm, sources said, when the three JAP jawans were sitting on a bench under a tree in front of a dhaba at Chowka More.

The trio were on patrolling duty. They were watching vehicles travelling from Chandil to Chowka. The stretch had lately become a hotbed of Naxalite activities.

Police said a group of “seven to eight youths” suddenly pounced on the jawans.

“While two rebels sprinkled chilly powder on the jawans’ eyes, four overpowered the paramilitary personnel and snatched their rifles. One or two Maoists fired in the air to create panic and keep passers-by away,” said an officer. A larger group of rebels, “about 30”, were standing some distance away.

The gangs consolidated and the group disappeared into the jungles.

The superintendent of police said: “The Naxalites were headed towards Tamar and took refuge in Dinai hills after the attack.”

The residents of Chowka wanted to mobilise forces against the rebels but were dissuaded from doing so because the rebels had opened fire in the air, Singh said.

The senior police officer said he has asked for more police and paramilitary forces to be deployed at Dinai hills.

The jawans who lost the Insas were identified as Chamru Oraon and Dutaraj Kunkal, and the one who lost the self-loading rifle has been identified as Chamru Tigga.