CRPF top gun in rebel hotbed
CRPF DG K Durga Prasad (third from right) interacts with jawans in Latehar district. Telegraph picture
Ranchi, Nov. 24: CRPF DG K. Durga Prasad this morning visited Karmadih-Naurnagu forests in Latehar, where six Maoists were gunned down by joint forces yesterday, and took stock of anti-Naxalite operations going on in the traditional rebel stronghold.
He announced cash reward for the personnel of 209 CoBRA battalion who were involved in yesterday’s fierce encounter and directed the forces to step up the offensive to completely sanitise the area.
IG (operations) M.S. Bhatia and other officers of the state police and CRPF accompanied Prasad on his Latehar visit.
“Two out of the six slain rebels have been identified as sub-zonal commander Deepak Kharwar, alias Shailesh Kharwar, who carried a cash reward of Rs five lakh on his head, and area commander Nagendra Yadav,” the DG said in the afternoon after returning to the CRPF headquarters in Ranchi.
The duo were mainly active in Latehar and Lohardaga and used to operate under Maoist leader Nakul Yadav, he added.
Prasad said sooner or later security forces would flush out rebels from Burha Pahar area. “One by one, Maoists are losing their strongholds in Jharkhand. We have cleaned up Saranda forests. Maoists are running away from Parashnath hill, Jhumra hill and Kumundi forests,” he added.
The CRPF DG said the recent demonetisation had damaged the backbone of Maoists across the country. “We are very watchful. We have asked villagers not to share their bank account details with strangers or Maoists,” he said.
Yesterday, the forced recovered two SLR, three 303 bore rifles, one Insas, 600 bullets of various calibres and one dozen explosives devices. Today, another carbine was recovered from the riverbed. Lather SP Anoop Birthare said four out of the seven weapons were looted from police.
IG (operations), CRPF Jharkhand sector, Sanjay A. Lathkar said security forces had been keeping vigil in the Burha Pahar area, where around 50 Naxalites had assembled for meeting. “During search last morning, the CoBRA battalion spotted the armed Maoists on the bank of Koel river and asked them to surrender. They opened fire, security forces retaliated and gunned down six Maoists,” said Lathkar.
The Latehar SP said those killed, including Deepak and Nagendra, were part of the escort team accompanying Sudhakar, who hailed from Andhra Pradesh and had been sent to reinstate Maoist dominance in Burha Pahar, which shares border with Bihar and Chhattisgarh and is considered a safe passage for rebels.
Three Maoist cadres, including a minor, surrendered before police in Lohardaga and Gumla districts today.
While Maoist sub-zonal commander Shangho Mahto gave up his arms in Lohardaga, rebel Deepak Oraon and a minor aide shun violence in Gumla. They have given compensation in tune with the state’s surrender policy.