In the first instance of an abducted police officer being executed by Maoists,Jharkhand Special Branch Inspector Francis Induwar was beheaded and his body thrown on a forest stretch of National Highway 33 near Raisa,23 km from Ranchi,this morning. He was killed three days after the Maoists reportedly demanded the release of their arrested leaders,including Kobad Ghandy,in exchange for the officer.
In Delhi,Union Home Minister P Chidambaram called the act unacceptable. The cold-blooded murder is simply not acceptable. I condemn it. The Jharkhand DGP,he said,had informed him that no demand for a swap had been made. Chidambaram said the government was governed by rule of law and prisoners under custody of courts could not be swapped with those outside the law.
Induwars body and severed head were found this morning by a police team led by SP (Rural) Hemant Toppo. It appears he was beheaded with a sharp-edged weapon, Toppo told The Indian Express. Police found three hand-written posters stating that the Inspector had been killed by CPI (Maoist) cadres.
Induwar,an Adivasi Christian,was abducted from Hembrom Bazaar in Arki,45 km from Raisa,by four armed Maoists on September 30 when he was out shopping.
On October 3,CPI(Maoist) South Chotanagpur Division spokesperson Samarji issued a press release claiming Induwar was safe in their custody. He said the officer would be freed if police released three Maoist leaders Kobad Ghandy,Chhatradhar Mahato and Bhushan Yadav. While Ghandy was arrested in New Delhi,Mahato and Yadav were held in West Bengal.
But police assumed that this was only Samarjis demand and not that of the CPI (Maoist). We learnt about his stand from newspapers reports. Since we had not received any message from the outfit,we did not attach any significance to it, said IG S N Pradhan,the police spokesperson.
Induwar is survived by his wife Sunita and three sons,Animesh (13),Anitesh (12) and Abhishek (10). On October 1,the children met the police top brass to seek the safe return of their father. IG (Special Branch) B B Pradhan said we told them we are doing our best to trace him,get him released from the clutches of extremists. Sunita had appealed to the Maoists to release her husband,saying we will be finished if anything happens to him,we are common people who have no access to authorities to get these arrested leaders freed.
And this morning,after word spread that his body had been found,Argora village on the outskirts of Ranchi,where the Induwars lived in a rented house,plunged into grief. Nephew Anup said: My uncle was a very honest man. He is a martyr now but we have lost him forever. Who will take care of us?
Born and brought up in neighbouring Gumla district,Induwar became a Sub-Inspector in 1989,was officer-in-charge of more than a dozen police stations including Bermo,Lohardaga and Bokaro. Promoted to the rank of Inspector last year,he was assigned to the Special Branch. He was posted to Khunti in February this year.
The killing of Induwar outraged policemen and a section even accused seniors of not doing enough to free him. Some 3,500 personnel of the Special Branch are deployed across the state,gathering intelligence.
A section of policemen led by Jharkhand Policemens Association Special Branch unit president Lal Manohar Singh refused to let the police get Induwars post-mortem done at the state-run RIMS hospital. The police are shedding crocodile tears. After he was kidnapped,they did nothing to trace him. Now they want to do a post-mortem on his beheaded body. We will not let them do it, said Singh while his colleagues picked up the body from the RIMS and carried it to the police headquarters.
The policemen calmed down only after Additional DGP G S Rath and IG B B Pradhan intervened and the body was returned to the RIMS. Later,it was taken to the Jharkhand Armed Police premises. Singh said each one of us who has worked in these remote areas is easily identifiable. We demand security of life and property. IG S N Pradhan said: We have told them that all are men in uniform. The challenge has to be overcome.