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Jehanabad, a week after Operation Jailbreak
November 18, 2005 13:04 IST
The virtually bloodless coup by Maoists in Jehanabad jail has re-established the fact that the administration can no more ignore the district that has been a mute spectator to many gory incidents and massacres.
Situated almost in the middle of Bodh Gaya, the seat of enlightenment, and Patna, the seat of power, Jehanabad resembles any other district of Bihar with long hours of power cut, bumpy and dusty roads and poor basic infrastructure.
Four days after the daring jailbreak, life goes on as usual in Jehanabad except for the fact that the number of police officers and jawans stationed in the town has increased.
Special Task Force jawans, Rapid Action Force and others could be seen having cups of tea in the market before participating in combing operation at the night.
The common man may apparently want to forget the fateful Sunday night when the state's power was 'dwarfed' by hundreds of Maoists, but the police were busy identifying 'vulnerable' villages, which could be soft targets for armed Ranvir Sena squads.
Santosh Kumar Sharma, who works at a Reliance petrol pump, said, "People might be putting up a brave face, but they are also anticipating retaliation by Ranbir Sena members despite deployment of the elite forces of National Security Guards."
Ranvir Sena, which is losing 'charm' and 'acceptability' among members of the caste it claims to represent, has weakened even in its Pahiyari strongholds following the arrest of its legendary leader Brahmeshwar Mukhiya.
It had suffered its next jolt following the killing of its next top man Bade Sharma, who the Maoists eliminated during the jailbreak.
Prisoners told a UNI reporter visiting the jail that the main objective of the Maoists was to free its comrades.
They said the Maoists killed Bade Sharma primarily because of his high-handedness with co-prisoners, particularly Maoist top ranking leader Ajay Kumar, who was freed during the operation.
The police have identified the villages vulnerable to Ranvir Sena backlash--Ganiyari, Pariyari, Majidpur, Aiyara, Parhar, Puran, Gadopur and Khajuri in Arwal district and Sukalchak, Bistol, Mandebigha, Kakariya, Balabigha, Kinarpur, Salalpur, Khiderpur, Mokar, Pandaul, Panditpur, Sawan Bigha and Salempur-- which could be soft targets of the ultras.
Special Inspector-General (Jehanabad) S K Bhardwaj said the administration was taking effective steps to protecting the people of these villages.
Police personnel were, however, apprehensive of their own security and new houses for police stations of Parasbigha and Sakurabad have not been 'occupied' in view of the Naxal threat.
The police station of Sakurabad is functioning from a primary health centre while Parasbigha police station is housed in a dairy farm centre.
Notwithstanding these problems, Jehanabad's District Magistrate Rana Awadhesh claimed that prisoners having allegiance to CPI (Maoist) and Ranvir Sena were living in jail without any difficulty.
There was cordial relationship prior to the jailbreak and even now there was complete harmony, he said.
But outside the jail, leaders of both the groups were in no mood to allow their long 'war of supremacy' die a silent death.
Kameshwar Sharma, from nearby Newari village, said, "More blood will flow. It's not over yet."
According to political analysts, Maoists now believe in 'selective' killing as in the case of Bade Sharma, but Ranvir Sena will opts for soft targets and is losing support in the society.
Faced with socio-economic problems for many years, members of upper caste were also initially not ready to provide overwhelming support to perpetrators of violence, but Ranvir Sena opened doors for the upper caste youth to spread terror, resulting in erosion of support base.