A group of left-wing extremists (LWEs) gunned down two villagers and a commander of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist), who carried a Rs 10-lakh bounty announced by the Jharkhand government, was killed by security forces in retaliatory firing in Bihar’s Gaya district at around midnight on Saturday.
Two rifles — Avtomat Kalashnikova (AK)-47 and Insas each — and cartridges were recovered from the slain Maoist commander, identified as Alok Yadav alias Gulshan, who belonged to neighbouring Jharkhand’s Chatra district.
Four jawans of Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) — a special operation unit of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) who are proficient in guerrilla tactics and jungle warfare — and three civilians were injured during the retaliatory firing.
The jawans are undergoing treatment at Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College and Hospital in Gaya.
“Around midnight on Saturday, around a dozen Maoist rebels targeted a Chhath-Parv function at Mahuari village, which is located adjacent to national highway (NH)-2 and under the jurisdiction of Barachatti police station. They gunned down two villagers, who have identified as Birendra Yadav and Jai Ram Yadav. The rebels opened fire about 50 rounds of bullets,” said Rajiv Mishra, senior superintendent of police (SSP), Gaya.
The CoBRA battalion, which was conducting an area domination operation about 500 metres (m) away from the spot, took on the Maoist rebels after hearing gunshots.
The Maoist commander was killed in the retaliatory fire, while four CoBRA jawans and three civilians sustained injuries.
Soon, the Maoist rebels beat a hasty retreat in a bid to escape the CoBRA jawans’ line of fire.
“The injured civilians are out of danger. Bloodstains were found at the spot, which indicated some of the Maoist rebels might have been killed or wounded by gunshots. Search operations are in progress in the area,” the SSP.
The incident spot is located about 150 kilometres (km) away from the state capital, Patna.
“The pre-meditated attack is a fallout of the frustration among the rank and file of the Maoist rebels, who don’t see any future in their violent mission against the state. They tried to target villagers in a bid to unleash a reign of terror in a bid to dissuade their members from laying down arms and joining the mainstream,” the SSP said.
“The deceased Birendra was a Maoist sympathiser and his sister-in-law heads the Nadarpur panchayat. Earlier, his elder brother, brother, Sambhu Yadav, was killed by the LWE ultras in 2005 and his house was also set on fire,” the SSP added.
Police suspect that the recovered Insas and AK-47 rifles might have been looted from security forces.
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