A superintendent of police, known for his tough stand against Left-wing extremism, and five other policemen were killed and three others injured in an ambush by Maoists in Jharkhand's Dumka district today.
The ultras, who were lying in wait, opened fire and hurled bombs at the convoy of 45-year-old Amarjit Balihar, SP of Pakur who was returning from Dumka, state Home Secretary N N Pandey told PTI.
Balihar, an IPS officer of 2003 batch, had been commandant of Jharkhand Armed Police. He was a target of Maoists due to his tough stand against them ever since his posting at Pakur, sources said.
The driver of Balihar's vehicle was among those killed, he said, adding five policemen died on the spot and another on way to the hospital.
The Maoists fired over 150 bullets at the policemen, who did not get a chance to retaliate, DIG (Dumka) Priya Dubey said, adding the ultras also looted the weapons of the policemen.
The attack took place around 3.45 pm near Kathikund in Dumka district bordering Pakur, about 400 km from here, when they were returning after attending a meeting chaired by Dubey and attended by all the SPs of the range, Additional Director General of Police B B Pradhan said.
Earlier, police had said the incident had occurred near the forests of Amrapara in Pakur district bordering Dumka.
Besides Balihar, the dead policemen were identified as Ashok Kumar Srivastav, Chandan Kumar Thappa, Manoj Kumar Hembrom and Rajesh Kumar Sharma. The name of the sixth policeman is yet to be known, Pandey said.
Their bodies were taken to Dumka and the injured were admitted to the sadar hospital there and later referred to Dhanbad hospital, he added.
At least 200 central paramilitary personnel have been rushed to the spot to nab those involved in the attack, police said.
"Now Pakur and Dumka have also been officially declared as Maoist-hit districts taking the total number of such districts to 20 out of the total 24 in the state," Pradhan said.
Balihar is the second SP to fall to Maoists' bullets in the region. On October 4, 2000, the ultras of the erstwhile Peoples War, which has now merged with CPI (Maoist), had killed Lohardaga SP Ajay Kumar Singh in undivided Bihar. Lohardaga later became part of Jharkhand.
The Maoists had also killed several policemen, civilians and political leaders like CPI (ML-Liberation) MLA Mahendra Prasad Singh, JD(U) MLA Ramesh Singh Munda and JMM MP Sunil Mahato during the last 12 years.