RANCHI (TIP): Armed Maoists on July 3 ambushed a police convoy killing a superintendent of police and five others near the West Bengal- Jharkhand border. The attack took place in a jungle stretch between Kathikund and Gopikanar in Dumka, around 350 km from Ranchi. The SP, known for his tough stance against the Red rebels, was returning to Pakur from Dumka after attending a meeting when the attack took place. “Pakur SP Amarjit Balihar and five policemen were killed in an ambush by Maoist guerrillas,” said Jharkhand Director General of Police Rajiv Kumar. The guerrillas first triggered a landmine blast and later fired indiscriminately on the convoy.

The Maoists fired over 150 bullets at the policemen, who did not get a chance to retaliate, DIG (Dumka) Priya Dubey said, adding the rebels also looted the weapons of the policemen. Two other policemen who were injured have been admitted to a hospital, Dumka Deputy Commissioner Harsh Mangala said. Their condition is stated to be critical.

Balihar, an IPS officer of 2003 batch, had been the commandant of the Jharkhand Armed Police. He was a target of the Maoists due to his tough stand against them ever since his posting at Pakur, sources said. He is the second SP to fall to the rebels’ bullets in the region. On October 4, 2000, the ultras of the People’s War Group, now merged with the CPI (Maoist), had killed Lohardaga SP Ajay Kumar Singh in undivided Bihar.

Lohardaga later became part of Jharkhand. At least 200 Central paramilitary personnel have been rushed to the spot to nab the extremists who were involved in the attack. Police sources said the Maoists were trying to execute a big strike like the May 25 deadly attack on a Congress convoy in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district. Many Congress leaders, including former Union Minister VC Shukla, were killed in the attack. After the attack, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee held meeting with senior police officials and reviewed the situation. Security has been beefed up in vulnerable areas of the state. Bengal DGP N Mukherjee spoke to his Jharkhand counterpart and discussed a strategy for combating the Maoist menace. He stressed on the need for launching massive joint operations in the border areas.