Patna: Maoists have threatened to abduct the wives of police officials in Jharkhand state after the police arrested the wife of a top Maoist commander for “congratulating” her husband for shooting dead two cops in a police encounter earlier this month.
The police arrested Sangeeta Devi, wife of top Maoist commander Gujju Gope, from Jharkhand’s Simdega district last week following a phone call intercept wherein she was reportedly heard saluting her husband for killing the police personnel in a gun-battle and also announcing to gift him a “trophy” for the valour he showed during the encounter.
“We serve a week’s ultimatum to the police force to release Sangeeta Devi failing which we will retaliate in similar fashion, and abduct wives and children of police officials,” Santosh Yadav, spokesman of the Maoists was quoted as saying in the local media on Friday.
Stoutly denying that the commander’s wife had anything to do with the outfit’s activities, the spokesman said it was a “cowardly act” to victimise someone’s wife or children for no fault of theirs.
“Our fight is against the system, not against innocent people, but if pushed to the wall, we too reserve the right to retaliate,” he declared.
The police, however, claim they have sufficient evidence to prove the involvement of the arrested woman in the crime. “We have proof. She is a partner in her husband’s crime. Threats are not going to work anymore,” said a local police official Rajiv Ranjan Singh.
Jharkhand is one of the many states in India plagued by Maoist insurgency. According to an official report, Maoists operate in 60 districts in India, mainly in the states of Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and West Bengal.
Currently 18 districts out of state’s total 24 are said to be infested with Maoist activities, but the police say they have dismantled their networks in most of the places.