Major Naxal strike averted, 10 ultras apprehended
Claiming to have averted a major Naxal attack in the National Capital Region (NCR), the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Uttar Pradesh Police have busted a gang of ultras.
A total of 10 ultras, including a self-styled area commander suspected of having links with Naxal outfits in Jharkhand, have been arrested, the police said, adding that a huge cache of arms and ammunition were recovered from their possession.
The police said the extremists were adept at making bombs and were planning some “crimes” in the Delhi-NCR region, IG (UPATS) Aseem Arun said. According to the IG, in the night-long raids that went on till the wee hours on Sunday, nine ultras were arrested from Noida, neighbouring the national Capital. Of these, six were picked up on Saturday night and three on Sunday morning. Another was arrested from Chandauli, adjoining Bihar, he said.
Self-styled area commander Pradeep Singh Kharwar, from Bariatu village in Jharkhand’s Naxal-prone Latehar district, was hiding in Noida since February 2012, he said, adding that a Rs 5-lakh reward was fixed on his arrest.
Another prized catch was Ranjit Paswan, a former self- styled area commander of the erstwhile People’s War Group, which was active in Naxal-hit Sasaram district of Bihar. He was arrested from Chandauli, adjoining Bihar, he said.
Others arrested included Pawan Kumar Jha of Madhubani in Bihar, Sachin Kumar of Dankaur in Greater Noida, Krishna Kumar Ram from Sasaram in Bihar and Suraj, a resident of Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh, police said. Suraj was the group’s local contact for conducting operations in the Delhi-NCR area.
The STF officer said acting on a tip off, a raid was conducted at an apartment in Sector-49, Hindon Vihar, Noida. As many as 550 live cartridges, an INSAS assault rifle, two other rifles and three self-loading rifle magazines, along with a huge quantity of explosives and detonators, were seized.
“It is suspected that the INSAS rifle was looted from a security personnel as the weapon is used by them against the ultras. INSAS (Indian Small Arms System) is a family of infantry arms, consisting of an assault rifle and a light machine gun. The arrested Naxals were active in eastern UP and adjoining parts of Bihar and had made Noida their base. They had rented out two flats and posed as property dealers. The crackdown on the left-wing extremists will continue and more arrests are likely to be made,” the IG said.
He added that the gang members were experts in bomb-making. “They revealed that they wanted to shift their base in NCR to commit crimes such as ATM heist, robbery and abduction as they could not get enough money in Bihar and Jharkhand area,” he added.
The police have recovered three .32-bore pistols, one 9-mm pistol, three country-made revolvers, 60 cartridges (32 bore), 10 cartridges (09 bore), 18 cartridges .315-bore, two laptops, 13 mobile phones, four cars, one motorcycle and Rs 75,000 from their possession. The gang had opened two shops in the locality and pretended to work as property dealers.