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BackYou are here: NewsIndia In 72 hour operation in Jharkhand, forces fail to nab Maoist leaders

India

In 72 hour operation in Jharkhand, forces fail to nab Maoist leaders

Manohar Lal, Times of India, Sep 28, 2010

RANCHI: Security forces encircled jungle training camps in Jharkhand where some of the top Maoist commanders were present with scores of combatants, engaging the red cadres in a fierce 72-hour encounter. 

While the four Maoist central committee members — CPI-Maoist No. 2 Kishanda alias Prashant Bose, head of Bengal-Jharkhand-Orissa zone Kishanji, Aravind of Bihar and Mahesh of Assam — reportedly conducting the war training, slipped through the extensive dragnet, security forces on Monday claimed they had killed 10 Naxalites in the dense Saranda forests during the first major anti-Maoist operation in the state. 

A CoBRA jawan, Jaimal Singh and two Jharkhand Police constables — Jehangir Khan and Rajeev Ranjan — were killed in the encounter while CRPF assistant commandant Nitish Kumar was injured, said Jharkhand DGP Neyaz Ahmad. Only one body of a dead Maoist combatant had so far been located. 

Although success eluded the forces, the operation demonstrated new levels of coordination between the different arms involved in anti- Naxal operations and a better degree of intelligence gathering. Such operations, clearly aimed at maiming the top leadership, would impede the Naxal surge and prevent them from launching attacks involving hundreds of combatants with impunity. 

The joint operation was launched following information that Maoists were training since this month at Saranda forest in West Singhbhum district. Senior Maoist leaders had been visiting the camp to train recruits and hold meetings with the cadre. 

Around 2,000 security personnel from state police, CRPF and CoBRA forces surrounded a 500 sq km swath of sal forests and closed in on the camps on Saturday night. About a fortnight back, West Bengal police had received a tip-off that Kishenji would come to Jharkhand's Ghatshila railway station. But that trail went cold. 

During the operation, two training camps near Ratamati and Norda villages were destroyed. But senior Maoist leaders managed to escape. 

A cache of arms, including a country made .303 rifles, a double barrel gun, six grenades, four landmines, four mortar bombs, one claymore mine, packets of explosives, jungle warfare training documents, solar panels, generator sets, UPS, tarpaulin and war fatigues were seized from the camps. The security personnel missed Kishenji narrowly, said sources. They had managed to trap him during the stand-off. But, the forces ran out of rations and had to withdraw, said sources. Forces returned to their base camps at Kiriburu and Manoharpur on Monday as they were exhausted fighting in a difficult terrain.