Thursday, August 9, 2007

Schoolchildren took out a rally against police act

From correspondents in Jharkhand, India, 03:00 PM IST

Hundreds of schoolchildren in the forested areas of Jharkhand's Palamau district took out a rally and shouted slogans demanding that police reveal the whereabouts of top Maoist leader Madanji who was arrested last month.

'Police, bring Madanji before us. Reveal where Madanji is being kept,' the children shouted at the rally, which was reportedly organised by the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) rebels in Palamau, around 240 km from here.

Patna police arrested Madanji, a central committee member of CPI-Maoist, along with two other rebels last month when he had gone to the Bihar capital for medical treatment. Police have kept his arrest a secret and not revealed where he has been lodged.

Maoist rebels, who want police to reveal where he has been kept, are putting pressure on police to make Madanji's arrest public.

'Madanji has done a lot of things for the state. Police should make his arrest public and tell where he has been kept,' said Pintu, a school student who participated in the rally.

Echoing his sentiment, Sangita, another student, said: 'Police are deliberately not disclosing his whereabouts. They may kill him in a fake encounter.'

Police officials say the protest by schoolchildren is the handiwork of the CPI-Maoist to put pressure on the government.

'The arrest of Madanji is a big catch for us and a setback for Maoist rebels. We hope he will reveal many things which will help us in our combing operation against Maoists,' a police official told IANS.

Maoist rebels had called a state-wide strike last week to protest the arrest of Madanji.

Maoists are active in 16 of the 22 districts in the state. Around 830 people, including 320 security personnel, have been killed in the last six years in Maoist-related violence.

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