Days after TPC massacre, Maoists kill five cops

Apparently retailiating for the humiliation they suffered at the hands of the Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC) last week, Maoists in Gumla killed five policemen in broad daylight Thursday morning.

Their patrol was attacked near a bus shelter in the Chainpur police station area around 11.30 am, police said. An assistant sub-inspector, a havildar and three constables were killed. "ASI Gopal Singh succumbed to injuries at Apollo Hospital in Ranchi. The others died on the spot," Jharkhand Police spokesperson DIG Richard Lakra said.

"The Maoists made away with three INSAS rifles, 600 rounds of ammunition and eight hand grenades," he added.

The attack followed Tuesday night's bombing of the Sreeram panchayat secretariat building in Lohardaga. 25-30 rebels destroyed the building almost entirely, though no one was killed. The attackers left behind pamphlets saying the attack was retribution for last week's incidents.

Ten CPI (Maoist) cadres including some senior leaders were killed in Lakramanda Tola in Kunda block of Chatra district in a gunbattle with the TPC that began on March 27 afternoon and continued into the early hours of the next day. The victors also kidnapped 25 People's Liberation Guerilla Army cadres, and let them go only after extracting the promise that they would dissociate themselves from the Maoists.

The TPC, which is widely believed to have state backing, left the main Maoist movement in 2002, protesting the alleged domination of Yadavs, and has since clashed repeatedly with the CPI (Maoist).

The attacks of Tuesday and Thursday indicate the possibility of further violence during the Jharkhand-Bihar bandh called by the Maoists over the weekend to protest the Chatra incident.

Jharkhand DGP Rajiv Kumar said he had reached the site of Thursday's attack on the police, and intended to stay the night there. Kumar had visited the Chainpur area 20 days ago to supervise a police operation targeting the circle of Maoists around their Central Committee member Arvindji.



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