Gifts after body bomb

Ranchi, Feb. 13: The CRPF and police today distributed gifts to villagers of Amuatikar in Latehar to lure them into community policing in an area that was in the news last month for bombs planted by Maoists in the corpses of jawans.

The residents were terror-stricken after four villagers were killed when a bomb planted under a jawan's body exploded during the gun battle between troops and rebels on January 7-8.

During a three-and-a-half-hour exercise this morning, officers under a security cover of jawans of the 112nd and 11th battalions of CRPF and Jharkhand Jaguar distributed sari, dhoti, sports kits, lanterns and several other items to villagers to present a pro-people image.

Sources said they asked the villagers to be supportive and alert the jawans about the presence of Maoists in their locality.

"The security personnel asked us to come forward and root out Maoism from our areas. They asked us to pass on information about the presence of Maoists. They also gifted several items to villagers. Around 300 people were provided lantern, sari and dhoti besides several sports items," said a resident.

A source added, "The security personnel had fortified the area before carrying out the confidence-building exercise, as they were still wary about the presence of Maoists in the area."

Another resident claimed that the drive would yield positive results. "If the exercise had been carried out earlier, Maoists would have never dared to stay in the area."

Latehar superintendent of police Kranti G. Kumar said, "Security personnel have visited Amuatikar after the January encounter that claimed the lives of 11 jawans and four villagers. But this was the first drive to encourage community policing."

He said similar exercises would be continued to win the confidence of villagers.

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