CPI (Maoist) insurgents shot dead a coal trader while he was offering Arghya at a Chhath Ghat in a nondescript village of Simariya block in Chatra, about 150 kilometers north of capital city, on Saturday morning, unleashing a reign of terror on the innocent villagers engrossed in festive fervour, police said.
Cops from Pathalgada police station recovered three used cartridges and two CPI (Maoist) posters from the spot. Eyewitnesses claimed that bike-borne, masked rebels fired three rounds of bullet from a close distance at the coal trader and fled shouting slogans in glory of the CPI (Maoist). The incident triggered panic among devotees leading to a stampede at the Chhath Ghat, eyewitnesses told the police.
The victim, identified as one Mukesh Giri, was rushed to a local hospital in Simarya from where he was referred to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ranchi. Giri succumbed to his injuries on his way to Ranchi in an ambulance, police said.
While the purpose behind the cold-blooded murder in broad daylight is not confirmed, police suspect that the coal trader may have been murdered over his refusal to pay levy to the insurgents. Other sources in the police department said that the CPI (Maoist) killed Giri as they suspected him to be a police informer.
The Director General of Police (DGP), MV Rao rushed to Chatra immediately after the incident and held a meeting with the Chatra superintendent of police, Rishav Kumar Jha. Talking to media persons after the meeting, the DGP said that CPI (Maoist) rebels have invited their own demise by indulging in such activities and they won’t be able to survive for long.
“They have lost the ideological support of villagers. Their (Maoists) end is not far,” said Rao.
Meanwhile, the LWE insurgents made their presence felt across Jharkhand on Saturday by going on a rampage in Giridih and pasting posters in Khunti and Saraikela. Through the posters, the rebels threatened industrialists to either pay levy or perish. A poster recovered from the crime scene in Chatra warned commoners against becoming police informers and threatened people of dire consequences if they pass on any information by the insurgents to the law enforcement agencies.
In Giridih, CPI (Maoist) rebels set ablaze a JCB, a bike, a miller machine and a generator at a road construction site on Saturday, police said. They also set afire a staff quarter where construction workers were staying temporarily. However, no casualties were reported in the incident.
As per records with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), at least 19 of 24 districts are Left Wing Extremism affected in Jharkhand. The CPI (Maoist) is the most dreaded outlawed group in the state among around 17 LWE outfits, say police.
Opposition parties in Jharkhand, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have recently targeted the Hemant Soren-led UPA government in the state over deteriorating law and order situation. The government has faced the ire of opposition leaders over rise in crimes against women and lynching incidents lately.