Jharkhand, India: ‘Maoists’ try to blow up school building

Indian Express, April 29, 2017

A HIGH-SCHOOL building was partially blown up and equipment of a mobile phone tower, which is yet to begin functioning, was set on fire by suspected Maoist operatives at a village in Jharkhand’s Khunti district, near state capital Ranchi. The incident took place late Friday night. “Since Maoists have influence in the area, we suspect they were behind the incident. A detailed probe is required,” Arki police station office-in-charge Hari Deo Prasad said. The incident took place in Birbanki village, around 18 km from Arki police station.

No one was injured in the incident. The police said the suspected Maoists asked people to vacate the building first before trying to blow it up. Search and combing operations have been initiated after the incident came to light on Saturday morning. Hari Deo Prasad said, “Suspected Maoists reached the school around midnight (Friday) and asked a few labourers, who were working at the primary health centre next to it, to vacate the building. They blew the front portion of the building, including the staircase, using a gas cylinder.”

The extremists then tried to damage the BSNL mobile phone tower adjoining the building and burnt its battery box. “Thereafter they set fire to tyres of the concrete-mixing machine. They did not leave any pamphlets on the spot,” the police official said.

Prasad said there was a proposal to set up a police camp at the spot but is yet to be implemented. “It is not clear whether it was this proposal (to set up a police camp in the area) that led to such an act. We are investigating,” he said. Khunti has been a stronghold of the People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI), a splinter Maoist group.