As many as 11 villagers,including a child,were killed when a group of over 200 Naxalites attacked a village in Jamui late on Wednesday night. The Left wing extremists resorted to heavy firing for over 90 minutes on the hapless villagers,reportedly in retaliation to alleged killing of eight Maoists by the villagers a fortnight ago.
Though the incident is not linked to Centres Operation Green Hunt,the attack in Naxal-infested Jamui,bordering Giridih in Jharkhand,might well have given a strong message to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar,who recently chose not to attend a high-level meeting called by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram in Kolkata. On Thursday,Kumar said the police had been asked to be on extra alert in Naxalite-hit districts,but refused to commit on any crackdown against the extremists.
The incident seems to be purely out of revenge though we have no proof of these villagers killing eight Naxals, said DIG Amit Kumar,adding that a police post would be opened in the village soon.
The armed extremists attacked Korasi village,barely 30 km from the district headquarters,by blowing up a portion of the village school building around 11.30 pm. They then went on a rampage in the village,especially training their guns on members of the Scheduled Tribe Koda community. They also blew up many houses using dynamite and set some others on fire.
Though SCs and STs are generally dubbed as Naxal sympathisers,Korasi was an exception. Despite its close proximity to Naxal hideouts in Judheshwar and the adjoining hills,Korasi defied Naxals with their traditional bows and arrows. In 2003,Naxalites suspected this village was protecting one of its rebels. The police claimed the villagers even killed three Naxalites in 2005. On Wednesday too the villagers thwarted the attack for half-an-hour,but soon gave up.
The morning after,the village wore a deserted look with many of its residents fleeing to safer areas. Nearby,at a piece of land where a mass cremation was taking place,there was no one to grieve for the dead.
Only 25 people,mostly the aged,have stayed back to take care of their livestock. Despite the heavy police deployment most of the residents are not willing to come back.
Narayan Koda,among those who has stayed back,said: We hid in the bushes for almost three hours and came out only after the police arrived. We wonder why we are being targeted. Naxals think we have killed their men but it is not true.
Chinta Rai said the Naxals kept saying Is bar nahin bachoge (you will not be alive this time). She said they made a living by selling wood collected from the jungles and hence could not even think of challenging the might of the ultras.
Armed with just bows and arrows,we are a soft target. We kept telling the police about the Naxal threat but nobody listened, she said.