Ranchi: A day after body bombs exploded killing three and days after a Naxal encounter in Latehar, Jharkhand, the first arrest has been made. The General Secretary of the Maoists' Koel-Sankh Zonal Committee, Prabhat Mochi, has been arrested and sent to judicial custody.
Sources have told CNN-IBN that Mochi has confessed that experiments on inserting bombs into bodies were conducted on dogs and goats in the past six months. Sources say the Naxals wanted to break the morale of the security forces by using such techniques.
"We were aware of Naxal presence in Latehar. But because of the topography we win some and they win some. Eight naxalites were killed and many others injured. They are being treated in the forests," said Praveen Singh, DIG, Palamu Range.
In a separate development the DGP of Jharkhand has pointed to a foreign hand. He said those who have connections outside India are aiding the Naxals. "The Naxals definitely have support from outside India. They have cross-border connections for sure," DGP GS Rath said.
In a barbaric and daring new tactic employed by the Naxals in Jharkhand, the bodies of some CRPF personnel who had been killed in an encounter with the rebels were found to be implanted with IEDs. The startling discovery was made on Thursday when doctors conducting the autopsy of CRPF troopers at a government hospital in Ranchi found a 1.5 kg unexploded bomb stitched inside the abdomen of one of the personnel.
In an encounter with Naxals in the forests of Latehar on January 6, 10 CRPF personnel were killed. While the bodies of six were recovered, four could be located only on Monday. When the security personnel tried to recover the bodies of their slain colleagues with the help of villagers, four civilians were killed as the bodies that had been booby-trapped with IEDs, exploded.
Meanwhile, the bodies of three CRPF personnel were taken to Ranchi where the doctors found stitch marks on them and feared that they were implanted with bombs, said Latehar SP Kranthi Kumar Gadidesi.
A bomb disposal squad was called in and after the X-ray confirmed the presence of IEDs, the team defused the bomb. The IED was a pressure bomb which explodes on being disturbed.
DGP GS Rath said doctors initially refused to conduct the post-mortem after they became suspicious on seeing stiches on the abdomen. A bomb disposal squad expert said it could be for the first time the Naxals have planted an explosive inside a dead body.
The Centre has now indicated that it will send in more CRPF battalions to Latehar. Sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs said that sending in more troops to the area had become necessary as some of the top Naxal leaders were present there. Kranthi Kumar also said that the operation by CRPF and the state's commando force Jharkhand Jaguars was carried out after specific intelligence which confirmed the presence of a large number of Naxals in the area.
He said that several top Naxals leaders from Bihar and Jharkhand were present in the area and the operation was launched to eliminate them. However, the Naxals trapped the security personnel using the terrain to their advantage. They fired at the troopers from tree tops and hills, inflicting heavy casualties.