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Dark Side Last Updated: Feb 7, 2024 - 1:41:11 PM


Jharkhand: Flagging Factions
By Deepak Kumar Nayak, SATP, 10/9/23
Sep 11, 2023 - 10:46:20 AM

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On September 5, 2023, the Jharkhand Police arrested Sushil Oraon, a ‘commander’ of the Jharkhand Jan Mukti Parishad (JJMP), a splinter group of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), from a forest in the Latehar District of Jharkhand. Several modern weapons were seized from him. Oraon, carrying a reward of INR 500, 000, was ‘second in command’ in the outfit, after Pappu Lohra, its ‘supremo’. Oraon had executed many crimes, including murder, ‘levy’ recovery (extortion), and arson, and has more than one and a half dozen cases registered against him in Latehar, Palamu, and Garhwa Districts.

On September 4, 2023, the Police arrested Dayal Purti aka Abhiman, a top cadre of the People's Liberation Front of India (PLFI), a CPI-Maoist splinter group, from the weekly Binda Bazar in the Khunti District of Jharkhand. A total of six cases have been registered against Purti at the Murhu and Maranghada Police Stations of the district.

On September 2, 2023, an ‘area commander’ of the PLFI, Shravan Das alias Fagua Das (22), was arrested from Birta village in the Khunti District of Jharkhand. Das was wanted in five different cases and had been active for some time in the area, trying to revive the organization. A country-made pistol, bullets, a mobile phone, and PLFI leaflets were seized during the operation.

On September 2, 2023, two cadres of the Tritiya Sammelan Prastuti Committee (TSPC/TPC), another CPI-Maoist splinter group, identified as Rajkeshwar Yadav alias Vinod Yadav and Harihar Yadav, were arrested by the Police near Mahudand Mor in Gotha village under Chhatarpur Police Station limits in the Palamu District of Jharkhand. Rajkeshwar and Harihar, both residents of Chhatarpur, were arrested near Mahudand Mor when they were going to deliver INR 500,000 in collected ‘levy’ to their ‘commander’, Nitish Yadav. Chhatarpur Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Ajay Kumar disclosed that there was a reward of INR one million for Nitish Yadav.

Out of 11 Maoist splinter groups that operated in Jharkhand at one point or the other, the prominent three have been PLFI, JJMP, TSPC/TPC and Jharkhand Prastuti Committee (JPC).

According to partial data collated by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), at least 55 cadres of the three prominent CPI-Maoist splinter groups - 32 cadres of PLFI, three JJMP, and 20 TSPC/TPC – have been arrested during search operations and combing raids in Jharkhand since the beginning of the current year (all data till September 10, 2023). During the corresponding period of 2022, 39 cadres of PLFI, 24 JJMP, three TSPC/TPC and one JPC, had been arrested. Another 15 PLFI, six JJMP, and 14 TSPC/TPC cadres were arrested during the remaining days of 2022. Since July 5, 2008, when the first arrest of the breakaway factions’ cadres was recorded with the arrest of two PLFI members, following an encounter in the Khunti District of Jharkhand, to September 10, 2023, at least 829 PLFI, 85 JJMP, 235 TSPC/TPC and 67 JPC members have been arrested in the state.

Moreover, three such cadres (two JJMP and one PLFI) have been killed in state in the current year. During the corresponding period of 2022, four cadres (three TPC and one PLFI) had been killed, and another three (all JJMP) were killed in the remaining period of 2022. Since 2008, a total of 191 (103 PLFI, 16 JJMP, 70 TSPC/TPC and two JPC) splinter cadres were killed in the state.

During this period, the Security Forces (SFs) have lost eight of their personnel in the state in their fight against these groups.

The growing effectiveness of SFs has put pressure on these groups over the years. Three cadres from such factions (all TPC) have surrendered in the current year (data till September 10, 2023). Two cadres (both JJMP) surrendered in the corresponding period of 2022, and no further surrenders from splinters were registered in the remaining days of 2022. Three cadres (two TPC and one PLFI) surrendered in 2021. Since 2008, at least 44 such cadres (32 PLFI, two JJMP, and 10 TSPC/TPC) have surrendered in the state.

Despite SFs dominance, however, these outfits have been found involved in at least 146 civilian fatalities (112 PLFI, 22 TPC, eight JJMP and four JPC) since 2008. The last civilian killing was reported on May 9, 2023, when Sharat Kumar (58), the general manager of a private firm, Ritwick Private Company Ltd, owned by Ramesh Babu, a senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament) Member of Parliament (MP) from Andhra Pradesh, was killed by PLFI cadres, near the Barkagaon Forest Department guest house at Barkagaon, Hazaribagh District, Jharkhand. Kumar died, while his guard Rajendra Mahato sustained serious bullet injuries in the attack. The last civilian killing by JJMP was recorded on March 12, 2021, by TPC on March 1, 2017 and by JPC on October 31, 2016.

PLFI was formed by Dinesh Gope aka Kuldeep Yadav aka Badku, with the help of Masi Charan Purty, a senior ‘commander’ of the CPI-Maoist who defected from the CPI-Maoist with several of his followers in July 2007. The outfit subsequently rose to prominence and became a menace but, over the years, lost its prominence due to sustained SF pressure. It was a dealt a body blow on May 21, 2023, when Dinesh Gope, the ‘supremo’ of the PLFI, was arrested, in New Delhi. Though the NIA, in its press release on May 21, 2023, confirmed that the agency arrested Gope from New Delhi, media reports claimed that Gope was arrested from Nepal in a joint operation by the NIA and the Jharkhand Police. At peak, terrorism-related incidents involving PLFI stood at 26, in both 2016 and 2017.

TPC, founded by Brajesh Ganjhu alias Sardar ji, a former CPI-Maoist cadre, in the Lawalong area of Chatra in 2001 and formally constituted in 2002, found space among the 18 Left Wing Extremist outfits operating in Jharkhand. It is widely believed that TSPC/TPC was originally formed as a state proxy to help neutralize the activities and influence of the dominant CPI-Maoist. This is why the group avoided confrontations with SFs and engaged with them only if no other option was available. In a report on February 3, 2023, a Police officer, on condition of anonymity, asserted that the Police trusted TPC, as its members religiously pass on information about the whereabouts of Maoists. A teacher at a government school located in the interior of Chainpur block in Palamu, corroborating this claim, added that TPC cadres roamed freely in Chainpur, but Police did not bother to act against them. At peak, a maximum of 12 terrorism-related incidents involving the TPC were recorded in 2018. SAIR had earlier noted that the TPC’s activities and threat were dwindling.

The JJMP was formed in 2007-08, by Sanjay Yadav alias Manjit ji, a CPI-Maoist renegade ‘area commander’, with a bounty of INR 1.5 million on his head. Yadav had joined the Maoists in year 2004-05, due to financial difficulties at home. After its formation, JJMP continued to carry out operations in Gumla, Lohardaga and Latehar. However, on March 27, 2018, influenced by the ‘Nayi Disha’ (new direction) surrender policy as well as pressure from family members, Sanjay Yadav surrendered before the then Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Amol Vinukant Homkar, in Lohardaga District. Following his surrender, 'zonal commander' Pappu Lohra became JJMP's 'supremo' and remains elusive to this day.

JPC was formed by Guddu Ganjhu, a CPI-Maoist renegade, in 2006. Guddu Ganjhu engaged in levy collection and was the key man behind JPC’s spread into Hazaribagh, Latehar, Palamu, and different parts of Chatra. The TPC and JPC are both rival extremist groups and have engaged in several turf wars in past. On January 10, 2015, TPC cadres shot dead Guddu Ganjhu dead at Birhu village under Simaria police station in Chatra District. Though there is no clarity regarding Guddu Ganjhu’s successor, August 2015 reports claimed that the then chief of the outfit, Babloo Paswan alias Nageshwar, had been arrested by the Police. Nageshwar was later released on bail and, according to reports, was injured in an encounter with the Police in Odisha in 2017. Though he managed to escape, no further reports regarding his location or activities are available.

With the progressive weakening of these factions, according to a February 6, 2023, report, Palamu Police is planning to seek the co-operation of villagers to resist the remaining four active outfits: PLFI, TPC, JJMP, and JPC. Without disclosing details of the new strategy, Superintendent of Police (SP) Palamu, A.T. Mathew, noted that PLFI was trying hard dominate the area, while TPC holds some residual sway in Chhaterpur, Chainpur, and Vishrampur. JJMP is restricted to Chainpur and has failed to extend its influence further.  Moreover, JPC had been weakened by intense Police action in Chainpur two years ago, though some vestiges survive in parts of Panki and Lesliganj.

Though SFs have substantially weakened these splinter groups, a residual challenge remains, as at least 22 top cadres of the PLFI, JJMP, and TPC remain on the wanted list of the Jharkhand Police. The top fugitives include: Martin Kerketa, 'regional commander', carrying a reward of INR 1.5 million; two ‘area commanders’ Balram Lohra, and Krishna Yadav, with a reward of INR 200,000 each; and Samuel Budh, with a reward of INR 100,000, from PLFI; two ‘zonal commanders’ Pappu Lohra and Manohar Parhiya, carrying a reward of INR 1 million each, ‘sub zonal commander’ Ganesh Lohra, carrying a reward of INR 500,000, two ‘sub zonal members’ Birbal Oran, Ravinder Yadav and Lovelesh Ganjhu, carrying a reward of INR 500,000 each, two ‘Local Guerilla Squad (LGS) members’ Firoz Ansari and Ravindra Ganjhu, carrying a reward of INR 100,000 each, from JJMP; ‘chief’ Brajesh Singh Ganjhu, carrying a reward of INR 2.5 million, 'regional commander', Akraman Ganjhu, carrying a reward of INR 1.5 million, ‘zonal commander’ Arif Ji, carrying a reward of INR 1million, ‘sub zonal commander’ Prabhat Ganjhu, carrying a reward of INR 500,000, two ‘area commanders’ Baijnath Ganjhu and Karim Ji, carrying a reward of INR 200,000 each, two ‘LGS members’ Santosh Ganjhu and Sahendra Yadav, carrying a reward of INR 100,000 each, and two wanted cadres, Ramchandra Yadav and Raju Yadav, carrying a reward of INR 100,000 each, from TSPC/TPC.

The lack of ideology of the splinter groups, known principally for their criminal activities, have further undermined their influence and capacities. Nevertheless, their existence remains a lingering risk. Targeted and sustained SF operations on the remaining stragglers of these splinter outfits are slowly eroding their remaining capacities, and can be expected to nullify the residual threat over time.


Source:Ocnus.net 2023

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