The superintendent of police (SP) of Pakur, Amarjit Balihar, and at least four other policemen were killed in an ambush by armed cadres of the Community Party of India (Maoist) while returning from a meeting in Dumka district on Tuesday.
According to sources, the incident occurred at around 3:15 pm on Tuesday when the SP and about 15 of his men were returning to Pakur, nearly 400 km north by north east of the state capital Ranchi.
The convoy was passing through the dense Kathikund forests that border the two neighbouring districts of Dumka and Pakur when a group of the armed rebels ambushed the police convoy. SP Balihar and five of his men were shot dead and two other policemen were injured in the attack. The Maoists fled into the recesses of the forest after the attack.
Santhal Parganas zone, which borders West Bengal and Bihar on its East and North sides respectively, was earlier a relatively quieter zone in comparison to other districts of Jharkhand. However, there has been a spurt in the number of incidents recently, since a year, said the Jharkhand police spokesperson, deputy inspector general (DIG) of police, M Lakra.
Lakra said that a team of his seniors including the Jharkhand Director General of Police Rajeev Kumar and others has left Ranchi for Pakur to visit the place of occurrence. Inspector General Arun Oraon and newly-appointed DIG Priya Dubey of Santhal Parganas have already reached the place of occurrence and the bodies of the slain cops are being shifted to a hospital in Dumka.
There have been sparse incidents of red attacks in Santhal Parganas, mostly under the leadership of Shahdev Rai and another Maoist leader who goes by the ‘revolutionary name’ of Parvir Da. Another Maoist leader called Ramlal Bhai was picked up last month and was remanded to police custody.
There has been only one other incident of Maoist killing reported this year. The armed guerillas are more active in Jamui district of Bihar and Dhanbad and Giridih districts of Jharkhand, which are more than 200 km away from Dumka.