Latehar op ends but landmines remain,1 injuredhttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/latehar-op-ends-but-landmines-remain-1-injured/

Latehar op ends but landmines remain,1 injured

The police said Maoists had fortified the 4-km area around the training camp with landmines.

It seems that though the Jharkhand Police ended their anti-Maoist operation in Kumandih forest in Latehar,all the landmines in the area have not been cleared. On Sunday morning,a woman who had gone to collect forest produce was injured in a mine blast.

The pressure bomb went off near Jopla village in Latehar. While one of the legs of Jasmatia Devi (45) was blown off,the other is in a mutilated state. She has also suffered shrapnel wounds in her torso and is being treated at the district hospital. SP Michael S Raj said the she has referred to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in Ranchi.

The police said Maoists had fortified the 4-km area around the training camp with landmines.

After calling off the operation that had started on June 25,DGP Rajeev Kumar,had on Friday,said,“We have tried to clear all the landmines but cannot ensure that each one of them have been taken out.” But he had refused to estimate the number of landmines. This was one reason why the police operation took so much time.

The police had called off the offensive on July 11 after the top Maoists whom they had encircled,escaped. On June 27 they had claimed that eight members of People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army of CPI (Maoist) were killed. But no bodies have been recovered yet.

The Naxals who were cornered included central committee leader Arvind,special area committee member Birsai,platoon commander Chhotu Kharwar and two zonal commanders Vikas and Sylvester.

The DGP claimed the operation has put an end to Maoist hold over the region. “The Latehar-Barwadih area along the CIC rail line has been a problem. Whenever they called a bandh,the Maoists would try to create trouble there. The area was impregnable. They have been forced to leave for the first time,” he said. The police and central forces will now set up permanent camps in the region.

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Top police officers said the operation has just been put on hold. “They escaped to the south east and are in Lohardaga district. The area is the district’s tri-junction with Gumla and Latehar. We will attack from Lohardaga,” said an officer who wished to remain unnamed. With another offensive being planned in Lohardaga-Latehar-Gumla trijunction,the police say right now it will be a stress on their resources to start largescale clearing of landmines.