Central eye on warring rebel outfits
Ranchi, Aug. 10: Jharkhand is a “very confused state” lacking
political will and direction to solve the Left-wing extremism (LWE)
crisis, senior security adviser to Union home ministry K. Vijay Kumar
said in the wake of the Maoist carnage that killed 16 alleged Tritiya
Prastuti Committee (TPC) members in Palamau on the intervening night of
Friday and Saturday. The incident assumes national importance as Prime
Minister Narendra Modi will possibly visit the state on August 21.
According to sources, Union home minister Rajnath Singh held
discussions yesterday on the “situation” with former chief minister
Arjun Munda and other senior BJP leaders from Jharkhand who had
assembled in New Delhi for the party’s national council meeting. Kumar,
also the former director-general of Central Reserve Police Force, told
The Telegraph over phone that the infighting among rebel groups to gain
local supremacy was a kind of “civil war”. Off the record, top policemen
have conceded that they were “using” the TPC and People’s Liberation
Front of India (PLFI) in their fight against the CPI(Maoist). Kumar
candidly said this was a bad idea.
“I have categorically pointed it out before Jharkhand police and
administration that the enemy’s enemy is not your friend. For the simple
reason that more than 50 per cent LWE violence is concerned with rebel
factions like PLFI and TPC, among others,” Kumar said. On August 4, on
the floor of the Assembly during the monsoon session, chief minister
Hemant Soren alleged that the TPC and PLFI in 2004 had been
formed/supported by then director-general of police V.D. Ram, currently a
BJP MP from Palamau, whose impact was being felt by the state. Ram
denounced the allegations, saying he had given a proposal to state to
ban such organisations and the chief minister was being misled. Munda
defended his party colleague strongly.
“Instead of indulging in frivolous blame-game, the chief minister
should take bold actions. He has made a mockery of the entire official
machinery. Why should a commoner trust his government if the rebels
regularly keep updating the mass media with their latest exploits?” he
told The Telegraph. As the home ministry’s security adviser at the
Centre, Kumar refused to comment on Hemant’s words. But prodded, he only
said it spoke volumes for the way things were going on in the state.
Vishrampur (Palamau) police reached Choti Kauriya village, where 16
alleged TPC rebels were gunned down, almost 12 hours after the incident,
even though the thana is just 15km from the spot. Police could not even
get hold of the corpses.
Villagers said a TPC squad took away the bodies on a tractor on
Saturday morning. The Maoists have reportedly claimed responsibility for
the killings, saying they avenged the incident of March 27, 2013. Then,
the TPC reportedly killed 10 CPI(Maoist) rebels in Kunda area of Chatra
district. The entire gory incident shows the situation in the
hinterland where police appear helpless in the face of infighting
between rebel groups. While the TPC has emerged as the main force to
counter the CPI(Maoist) in Palamau, Chatra, Latehar and Garhwa, PLFI
rules the roost in Khunti, Ranchi, Gumla, Simdega and Lohardaga.
However, director-general of police (DGP) Rajeev Kumar stressed that
their anti-rebel operations had intensified and there were no lapses on
their part in the gang war for supremacy between the CPI (Maoist) and
Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC) outfits in Vishrampur. “The case is
simple. The Maoists have avenged the murders of their comrades. Our job
now is to nab the culprits. We are doing our best,” DGP Kumar told The
Adding that the TPC took away the bodies, he said the police
recovered only slippers, items of daily use, bloodstains and empty
cartridges from the site on Saturday. “We are not omnipresent. We
carefully verify every tip-off and take appropriate action. In this
case, no one informed us that the rebels had ventured inside the
village. How do we know certain rebels have entered a remote village on a
dark night?” he asked. The DGP also chose to keep silent over Hemant’s
“patronage” remark against former police boss and present BJP MP Ram.
Instead, he said: “We deal with all rebel groups with an iron hand.
Stray incidents do not mean that people have lost faith in the police.”