Dipankar Bose, SNS,
CHATRA/RANCHI, June 25: With bodies of five CPI (Maoist) deserters discovered by a roadside in Chatra on Friday morning, buzz in the counter-insurgency circles is that more such killings are in the offing. A senior police officer says the murders are the outcome of casteism that is racking the Naxalite group at the moment.
The bullet-ridden bodies of Ritesh ~ former zonal commander, Jitendra Das alias Prabhat ~ former area commander, Birodhi alias Ishwari alias Kishori Ghanju and Kalu Turi ~ both former sub-zonal commanders and Nandkishore Sahu alias Utrayan were found by the Gaya-Chatra main link road off the Bhuiandih jungle near Devpur village. The quintet were active in the Kouleshwari unit of the CPI-Maoist.
According to the district superintendent of police, Mr T Kondaswamy, the slain persons had deserted the outfit and had recently joined a breakaway faction, Tritiya MCC Prastuti Committee (TMPC).
“Documents found at the spot pin the responsibility of the deaths on the Maoists. Ritesh was a resident of Dagra, Chattarpur in Palamu, Utrayan lived in Dhujji, Sherghati in Gaya and Birodhi came from Dhangai ~ also in Gaya. Jitendra and Kalu were from Chatra and were residents of Ektara, Hunterganj and Bhuiandih. The documents identify Ritesh as one of the leaders of TMPC and the rest as members,” Mr Kondaswamy said.
Officers say that on 20 June, a group of 30 Maoist extremists had quit the CPI (Maoist) and joined the TMPC. “The Maoists did not like the exodus as many deserters possessed vital information. On 21 June, the Maoists and the members of TMPC started a gun battle near Raksi More of Tetriya in Chatra. Shortly afterwards, the Maoists abducted 20 TMPC members and eventually killed five of them. We fear that in the coming days, more killings will follow,” a senior officer said.
Another officer said that TMPC was formed by some extremists who believed that the top Maoist leaders had a caste bias and did not include members from lower castes in the decision-making process. “It was alleged that Yadavs were running the CPI (Maoist) group and cadres belonging to the Bhoktas, Turis, Badais, Oraons, Ghanjus and Other Backward Classes were given the go-by.
As dissidence grew, more cadres chose to leave the group. The TMPC recently gained a foothold in Latehar, Chatra and Palamu. The Maoists and their former cadres are currently competing to milk local transporters and contractors to replenish their coffers,” an senior sleuth said.
Apparently, the central committee of the CPI (Maoist) convened an emergency meeting early this month to discuss the growing influence of TMPC in several districts of Jharkhand. Reports suggest that in the meeting, the Maoists decided to crush the new outfit and deputed 200 hard-core extremists of the Saranda zone to accomplish this.