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At least nine operatives of People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI), a splinter maoist group, Monday surrendered before the Jharkhand police. They were members of two PLFI squads, both active in West Singhbhum (Chaibasa) district. While eight of them carried a reward of Rs 1 lakh, one carried a reward of Rs 2 lakhs.
According to the police, those who surrendered before the police have been identified as: Samu Lugun, Mitu Lugun, Achu Herenj, Ganhu Lugun alias Dadu, Birsa Lugun, Jirga Lugun, Goma Lugun, Sado Lugun and Lal Bihari Singh.
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Seven of these apart from Herenj and Singh are from the same village Jalasar under Bandgaon police station area of Chaibasa district. Herenj is from Tutikel village in Bandgaon area, while Singh is from Harta village under Anandpur police station area of Chaibasa.
The police said that, except Singh, the other eight worked for Mangra Lugun and Amar Guria squads. Singh was the Area Commander for Anandpur and worked for Ramu Ganjhu’s squad, who is his maternal uncle.
“Those from Jalasar and Tutikel villages are youngsters. They were pursuing studies when the two squads of Mangra and Amar reached their village and wanted them to recruit forcibly for the organisation in 2013. When they expressed reluctance, the squad leaders threatened them with life. Even the families of these youngsters had tried to wriggle out of this situation, as they did not want the youngsters to join the squads. But the squad leaders also threatened their families with dire consequences. Finally, they gave in to the pressure and joined the squads – with arms – in one single day,” said IG (Operations) M S Bhatia, also the Jharkhand police spokesperson.
After they joined, the youngsters would indulge in extracting levy from businessmen, put obstructions in development works and also carry out murders, besides other such crimes, the police said. They also indulged in forcibly inducting young men and women in the squad. In the last couple of years, the police presence in their areas increased as new posts in Bandgaon, Rania, Sonua and Gudri police station area were created. “Recently, their families got in touch with the police saying these youngsters wanted to surrender,” said Bhatia.
In the case of Singh, it was a family dispute and enmity that led him to join his maternal uncle’s gang more than two-and-a-half years ago. He was recently appointed as area commander of Anandpur police station, the police said. However, he had begun feeling uncomfortable and approached the police though his family for surrender.