A 45-year-old farmer, Jasmatiya Devi, lost her right foot as she stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device, said to have been planted by Maoists, near her village in Latehar’s Manika block on Sunday. “We will have to amputate her right leg. Her left leg is also injured but we are hopeful that it will recover,” said Kartik Patro, resident doctor at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in Ranchi.

The incident comes days after a massive paramilitary operation against the banned CPI (Maoists) in Manika block.

At the RIMS, Jasmatiya Devi’s son Kamendra Singh Khairwar said his father and mother were on their way back from Bayan hill, a kilometre away from their village, when the explosion occurred at 8 a.m. My father carried her on his shoulders half way down the hill and then ran to the village for help.”

“There is a sub-centre nearby in Kumandih but there were no medicines. So we put Jasmatiya on a cot and carried her up to the Kumandih railway station,” said her neighbour Surajmani Devi.

Villagers who gathered at the RIMS said they had received no warning about the possibility IEDs having been planted by Maoists.

Massive operation

In a long confrontation between the paramilitary forces and the Maoists, over 1,500 policemen and troopers of the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) and Jharkhand Jaguar had surrounded an area of 22 sq.km. in Kumandih from June 20 to July 5. According to senior police officials, there were more than 250 Maoists in the area at that time undergoing training. Maoist spokesperson Gopal said the meeting had been called to appoint Sameer alias Jayanto as a politburo member.

On June 27, Director-General of Police Rajeev Kumar, who visited Latehar, said eight Maoists had been killed in the operation but no bodies could be recovered. The police were unable to make any significant headway as the rebels had stationed themselves on the hills and planted several IEDs, before escaping, said officials.