When Maoists caught IPS officers off guard

The killing of an IPS officer by Maoists in Jharkhand has come four years after they eliminated a police

Written by Ashutosh Bhardwaj | Raipur | Published: July 3, 2013 12:40 am

The killing of an IPS officer by Maoists in Jharkhand has come four years after they eliminated a police superintendent in Rajnandgaon district of Chhattisgarh on July 12,2009. While there are not many instances across the country when Maoists killed an IPS officer,the manner of attacks has been strikingly innovative. Some assaults came at the most unexpected places like stadiums and traffic signals,even the ambushes were not usual ones. In one instance,policemen were lured by false inputs,in another it was an “area ambush”,a guerrilla warfare term roughly equivalent to carpet bombing. A look at some of the attacks.

DIG K S Vyas (Jan 27,1993): In the first-ever murder of an IPS officer,cadres of People’s War Group killed Vyas when he was jogging at a stadium in Hyderabad. His wife,bodyguards and other officers were at the stadium for routine morning exercises when the rebels fired at him. Considered to be the founder of the anti-Naxal Greyhound force,Vyas was instrumental in the creation of a special intelligence wing in Andhra that eliminated several rebels. His name figured on top of the PWG hitlist.

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C Umesh Chandra (Sept 1999): Killed in broad daylight at a traffic light in Hyderabad. He was included in the PWG hitlist after successful anti-Naxal operations in Warrangal and Karimnagar districts. The killing of this officer with an excellent academic record,gold medals in graduation and post-graduation,had become a controversy as it came months after he was transferred,allegedly following an inter-departmental rivalry,to a rather sinecure post at the police headquarters after years of successful stint in the field. He was not even given adequate security and had only a driver and a gunman when the rebels attacked him.

Lohardaga SP Ajay Kumar Singh (Oct 4,2000): Killed by Maoist Communist Centre cadres in suspicious circumstances. He had left office in a vehicle with a few gunmen for a designated place. But soon for reasons that still remain inexplicable to the police,he asked them to change the destination and they took a different road than they were scheduled to take. Later,they first faced a blast and as he came out of the vehicle with his men,Maoists opened fire at them. A bullet killed him on the spot.

Munger SP K C Surendra Babu (Jan 5,2005): He was returning from an operation with a few other policemen when Maoists triggered a landmine blast. The blast was so powerful that the vehicle was left in smithereens and they were killed at the spot. Maoists also looted their weapons. While the MCC and PWG had by then merged to form the CPI (Maoist),the attack was suspected to be carried out by cadres of the MCC dominant in Bihar. Maoist documents claim Babu was lured for a false operation. A day before,Maoists had attacked a railway station in the nearby district Lakhisarai. The rebels expected that Babu,an officer of Andhra cadre who was trained for anti-Naxal operations,would visit the site. He did visit and was ambushed during his return. A section of the police,however,saw some insider hand in the killing. Like Pakur,Munger was not among the Maoist-dominated districts.

Rajnandgaon SP V K Chaubey (July 12,2009): Killed in an ambush codenamed ‘Operation Vikas’ by Maoists,their literature termed the attack an “area ambush” as four ambushes were carried out at a short distance within hours. The first was at the Madanwada police camp around 6 am in which two policemen were killed. Soon SP Chaubey and Durg IG Mukesh Gupta rushed,with separate reinforcements. The second ambush was laid near village Korkotti,around 15-20 km from Madanwada. While Chaubey’s party managed to cross the spot,another police party ran into this ambush and 11 policemen were killed. Chaubey returned with additional force only to be killed in the third ambush.

Expressing concern at the deaths of senior officers,Chhattisgarh ADG (Naxal Ops) R K Vij said: “Sacrifice of policemen is among the supreme sacrifices. This should strengthen our resolve to fight this insurgency.”

“These things will continue. We will have to fight for long. You have to put them under tremendous pressure,then only will they either be terminated or come to the negotiating table. Unfortunately we have been celebrating smaller success,relative decline in violence which amounts to nothing,” said former Chhattisgarh DGP Vishwaranjan.

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