PATNA: On April 3, the security forces carried out an encounter with alleged members of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) along the Chatra-Palamu border in Jharkhand. The encounter resulted in the killing of at least five Maoist cadres, including Special Area Committee members Gautam Paswan and Charlie, who had a bounty of Rs 25 lakh on their heads. While the encounter was hailed by the security forces as a significant success, it has sparked controversy and condemnation from the Maoist sympathizers.
According to the Hindustan Times report, The Bihar-Jharkhand Regional Committee (BJRC) has called for a bandh in the Magadh division in the Gaya district of Bihar, starting Thursday midnight, to protest against the alleged “fake encounters” carried out by the police and para-military forces. The bandh was announced through posters put up in several places in the region, calling upon people to condemn the killings and express solidarity with the families of the slain Maoist cadres.
The BJRC has accused the security forces of illegally arresting people, torturing them in jail, and carrying out encounters after catching them. The Maoists have urged people to support the bandh and come forward to demand justice for the slain cadres.
The police and para-military forces have been put on high alert in the wake of the bandh call. Additional director general of police (headquarters) Jitendra Singh Gangwar has stated that all units of the Central Reserved Police Force (CRPF), CoBRA, Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), and district police have been asked to beef up security around public places, especially at railway stations and bus depots, which could be soft targets for the Maoists. The security forces have also been asked to continue patrolling the Maoist-hit areas along the national highways and railway tracks.
The bandh call and the alleged “fake encounter” have once again highlighted the deep-rooted Maoist insurgency in the region and the challenges faced by the security forces in combating it. The incident has also raised questions about the legality and morality of encounters and the need for a more nuanced and humane approach to tackle extremism and violence.