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Maoists attack police, free top leader from court premises

Misir Besra  

K. Srinivas Reddy

Bihar police seal borders, arrest two Maoists

HYDERABAD: Maoists carried out a daredevil attack on a police team on a court premises in Lakhisarai district of Bihar on Tuesday afternoon and freed their top-ranking leader Misir Besra after gunning down a policeman and hurling bombs to scare away people, Bihar police said.

District Development Commissioner Rajiv Ranjan, who was sitting in his office adjacent to the court complex, sustained splinter injuries as bombs were hurled freely by nearly 30 Maoists who entered the court premises on motorcycles, S.K. Bhardwaj, Inspector-General (Operations), said on the phone.

The ambush of the police team took place around noon, when Besra was being taken out of the court.

The guerrillas grappled with the five-member police team escorting Besra, even as their comrades fired shots and hurled bombs.

In the melee, they took away Besra, who was a member of the all powerful central military commission (CMC) and polit bureau of the CPI (Maoist). “Besra was handcuffed and held with a rope. The attack was too swift and there were lot of crowds on the court premises,” Mr. Bhardwaj said. The Maoists also snatched away a carbine and two rifles from the police escort team.

Maoists in plainclothes drove into the court complex on 10 motorcycles and the pillion riders began firing indiscriminately. As confusion continued, they took away Besra, the IG said.

The district borders were sealed and a massive manhunt was launched. “The police located them near a river on the town outskirts and were chased by policemen travelling in a Mine Proof Vehicle (MPV). However, the motorcyclists drove through the river and the MPV could not follow them. But the police managed to nab two Maoists and seize two motorcycles,” Mr. Bhardwaj said.

Arrested in Jharkhand

The freed Maoist leader, who is also known as Sunirmal, Bhaskerji, Sunil and Vivek, was nabbed in Khunti district of Jharkhand and his arrest was one of the biggest achievements in counter-insurgency operations in Jharkhand.

Fifty-year-old Besra is native of Madunadi village in Giridi district of Jharkhand. He joined the Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCCI) in 1985 while he was doing his graduation and by 2003 he was co-opted into the Central Committee.

After the merger of the MCCI with the CPI-ML People’s War (PW), he continued to be in the polit bureau and the central military commission (CMC) in addition to being a member of the Eastern Regional Bureau (ERB), which coordinates the Maoist movement in Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh. There are 14 members in the ERB, including Mallojula Koteshwara Rao.