June 10, 2015 3:49:35 am
Twelve alleged Maoists, including four minors, were killed in a joint operation by the police and the CRPF at Bhalwahi village in Palamau district late on Monday night.
Police said a top zonal commander, Anurag alias RKP alias Doctor, was among those killed in the “encounter”. Anurag was the main suspect in the 2013 Latehar IED case where explosives were put inside the body of a slain CRPF man.
Two other “Maoists” have been identified as Mohammed Izaz from Gwalior and Uday Yadav, a teacher from Latehar. Police, however, are not sure about the cases against them. Jharkhand DGP D K Pandey said they were still trying to identify the other bodies.
While 11 persons were shot in the head, chest, neck or stomach, one was shot in the leg. Demanding the presence of forensic experts, doctors at Daltonganj Sadar Hospital refused to conduct post-mortem examination.
According to sources, the security personnel set up barriers at Bhalwahi village near Bakoria, under Satwarwa police station, late on Monday evening after they received information that Maoists would cross the area in two Scorpios. At about 12:10 am, they tried to stop the first car but were not successful. They, however, managed to stop the second vehicle, in which Anurag and the others were reportedly travelling.
Police claimed they asked the group to surrender but there was immediate resistance, and an encounter followed. The vehicle, with a West Bengal registration number (WB 60 E 2011), had 22 bullet marks, including nine at the back. However, there were no blood stains.
Police reportedly recovered seven weapons, including an INSAS rifle, and over 300 live cartridges from the spot as well as several mobile phones and chargers.
Defending the action in which minors were also killed, DGP Pandey said the “bullet does not differentiate”. He said if children were a part of the Maoist squad, they would be killed. “It was a great success,” he said.
Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghuvar Das praised the security personnel. “They have done a great job and deserve praise. This should serve as a strong message to Maoists,” he said.
Local sources, however, said it was “hardly an encounter” as there were no signs of any resistance by the rebel group. “Not a single policeman received any injury. The injury marks show that they were shot from close range. There are no signs that they ran for safety as the bodies don’t have any bullet injuries in the back,” said a source.
Sources said the police received information about Anurag’s movements from the Jharkhand Jan Mukti Parishad, set up by former Maoists with the help of police. The Maoists were reportedly on their way to collect levy from bidi contractors.
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