Humanity shamed, 1 captive shot dead
3 freed after high voltage drama by extremists
BJ Mirror News teamMaoists have shamed humanity. We have no words to describe their most despicable act in killing the captive BMP havildar in the Lakhisarai jungles early this September. There can be no explanation for butchering innocent men in uniforms, who have no animosity with extremist groups.
Thank god, mercifully the nine-day hostage crisis end on September 6, as the Maoists released the three captured BMP men, Abhay Prasad Yadav, Rakesh Kumar Sinha and Ehasan Khan. A high voltage Maoist drama preceded the cops’ return to ‘life’ and freedom. The Maoist spoke person announced the killing of Abhay Yadav and the next day the body of hapless Lucas Tete was found.Then, it was announced that the remaining three hostages would be freed on Sunday morning. There was no trace. By evening reports again came in that they would be freed soon in Jharkhand. Finally, the release came in the close vicinity of the spot where Tete’s bullet-ridden body was found. As an interlude, came another episode. A man claiming that he was Kishanji (a Maoist top gun) came to Abhay’s house and got ‘rakhi’ tied in his wrist from his wife. He assured safety of her husband, Abhay.
The recovery of body and release of hostages, in close vicinity, point to the fact that the captives and Maoists were in and around the Shringirishi temple forests. Had the security forces scourged the area thoroughly the Tete could have been saved and Maoists captured. Apparently the Maoists drama was to buy time for escape of their leaders.
But, a big question hangs like a naked sword before the extremists, general people, political leaders of all hues and, of course the state and Central governments: Why should innocent people, be they policemen or general villagers, be killed? Why should the political leadership view every thing from vote bank angle?If innocent passengers are killed in Maoist blowing up trains or police men being killed in encounters, some excuses may be concocted. The Maoists may have some explanation for the Datenwada carnage in Chhattisgarh. But, what would they say about the killing of Lucas Tete, who was among four BMP men kidnapped and held captive by the Maoist guerrillas in the deep forest and hills ay the tri-junctions of Munger, Lakhisarai and Jharkhand? Why should the captives be made sacrificial goats to wrest concessions from the government? The Maoists have shamed even the plane hijackers. The incident holds dangerous portends for the country. The manner of hostage killing is also a pointer to suspected links of Maoists with Talibans. That the Maoists have lost public sympathy is evident from opinion polls, conducted by Hindi dailies in Bihar and Jharkhand. Overwhelming majority of readers had voted for tough military actions to root out extremist group lock, stock and barrel. The upcoming Vidhan Sabha elections seem to have weighed heavily. The polling would start in the last week of the next month.
The scene outside the Chief Minister’s residence was heart-wrenching. Mothers, wives and children of the captive BMP men were squatting on the road before 1, Ane Marg and crying un-consolably. Most of them fainted frequently. On the bidding of Nitish Kumar the fainting mothers of Abhay Yadav and Rupesh Kumar were rushed to the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH). Even Abhay’s wife was taken to the PMCH. By that time reports had come that Lucas Tete’s bullet-ridden body had been recovered. His wife and three daughters were sent to Lakhisarai, where Tete’s body had been kept. And soon the Chief Minister’s residence was cordoned off beyond people’s reach. The hostage crisis also exposed the ugly face of politics. Caught in a worst human tragedy, all political leaders made every effort to draw political mileage. However, at the all-party meeting they showed unity. Even the leftist parties advocated tough action against the Maoists. It is beside the point that it might be a fall-out of Maoists being at loggerheads with the CPM government in West Bangal. The Lucas Tete family members had threatened self-immolations if their sole bread-earner was not rescued. The Tete family is the poorest among Adivasis. The man is gone. Now how the Maoists would explain the snatching of bread from the mouth of a poor family. The extremists proclaim to be fighting the ‘war’ in the name the poor? Will it not have a chain reaction among the innocent and poor?
The body of Lucas Tete was found in the Lakhisarai jungles. The Maoists left a note with the body. The note, scribbled in Hindi, read, “We have killed a havildar since our colleagues were not released (by the set deadline). If our colleagues are not released (eight of their leaders in jail) we will kill other cops as well”.Lucas Tete was among 40 policemen out-powered by more than 200 Naxals. Seven cops were killed and four policemen were held hostage on August 29. They set various deadlines for the release of their eight leaders. At 5 p.m. on September 2, a Maoist spokesperson called a Patna TV news channel to say that they had murdered one of their four hostages. He identified the butchered man as Sub Inspector Abhay Prasad Yadav. This announcement almost wrote ‘death warrants’ for the family members of Abhay Yadav. His wife and mother, who were sitting on dharna before the Chief Minister’s official residence, 1, Ane Marg, got hysteric feats. Abhay’s children and other family members were inconsolable. There are no words to describe their agonies. The news about Abhay’s killing had drowned them in a sea of sorrow grief. Rupesh’s mother and Ehasan’s father and other family members were in the state of deep shocks, beyond tears. Avinash, a self-proclaimed Maoist spokesman, had said: “The government compelled us to kill him, as there was no move on the part of the government to initiate dialogue or negotiations, six hours after the deadline expired on Thursday”. But the body recovered was that Tete. And the next day the same Avinash shamelessly announced that the ‘mistake’ was due to a communication gap.
The episode has added one more dubious chapter to the Maoist war and government handling the crisis. It has been reported that the BMP men were sent in protection of a construction company. The Maoists had demanded PC money from the company. The Bihar government has now transferred and suspended concerned SP and matter is being probed as to how a small band of BMP men were sent to fight over 200 armed Maoist guerrillas in deep forests.