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'This is the first time Maoists have killed an unarmed cop'

October 06, 2009 17:21 IST

The kidnapping and subsequent beheading of Jharkhand Police Inspector Francis Enduwar was in retaliation to the offensives mounted by the Jharkhand police and not related to the arrest of senior Maoist leader Kobad Ghandy, the state police said on Tuesday.

"We had killed one and arrested another armed dalam member in recent times. The posters we recovered tell us that the killing of Inspector Enduwar was in retaliation to these successes of the Jharkhand police," Deputy Inspector General R K Mallick told rediff.com.

The recent successes of the police include the killing of Ganshi Ram Munda, accused of killing Jharkhand Member of Legislative Assembly Ramesh Singh Munda, and the arrests of several Maoists, including Moti Singh Munda, an armed dalam member.

Mallick refutes reports about the Maoists demanding the release of politburo member Kobad Ghandy, who was arrested in New Delhi in September, and Mahato, who was arrested in Bengal, in exchange for releasing Enduwar.

"No demand of that sort was received here. Neither the state government nor the police received any demand from the Maoists. So how can we say they were negotiating for the release of their members," Mallick said.

More importantly, this is also the first time the Maoists have kidnapped -- and killed -- an officer when he was unarmed. Enduwar was kidnapped at 5.30 am on September 30, when he was out shopping in the local market.

Mallick acknowledged that this was indeed the first time such an incident has happened.

"They have always targeted armed personnel or attacked us whenever we launched operations. This is the first time they have targeted an unarmed officer. This is a cause for concern and we must be careful in the future," he said.

Another senior officer also admitted that Enduwar's murder was indeed a cause of worry for the state police force. "The morale of the force will be definitely hit. These are areas where you have to travel to remote places to execute non-bailable warrants and issue summons. Every time a policeman steps out, the thought will be at the back of his mind," said the officer who did not want to be named.

The second issue will be more serious, he added.

"Now, we will have to ensure that people in the rank of sub-inspector onwards are armed and other officers given armed cover. Administration officials and politicians have to be given security. A policeman being kidnapped and an Indian Administrative Service official -- or a politician -- being kidnapped are two very different things. This will spread out the armed forces and as a result the strength of the forces on the ground will be thinned down," he said.

Krishnakumar P