ISSN 2330-717X

India: JJMP A Withering Force In Jharkhand – Analysis

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By Deepak Kumar Nayak*

On September 22, 2022, Vikas Lohra aka Abhijeet ji ‘area commander’ of the Jharkhand Jan Mukti Parishad (JJMP), a splinter group of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), was shot dead by cadres of the Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC), another CPI-Maoist splinter group, at Sarle under the Burmu Police Station limits in the Ranchi District of Jharkhand. Taking responsibility for the killing, TPC ‘area commander’ Vikram ji said that they had been on the lookout for Vikas Lohra for the past months, for his involvement in the killing of six TPC associates. In 2017, six militants, including TPC ‘sub zonal commander’ Sagar Ganjhu, had been killed. 

This is the lone killing, in the current year, of a JJMP cadre involved in the turf war with TPC. 

According to data collated by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), one JJMP cadre has been killed in the current year, thus far (data till October 2, 2022). During the corresponding period in 2021, at least three cadres were killed, while another one was killed in the remaining period of 2021, taking the total to four JJMP fatalities through 2021. A total of 18 JJMP cadres have been killed since the formation of the group in 2007-08. Significantly, of these five were killed by Security Forces (SFs) and 11 in factional clashes, while two were lynched by civilians. 

On the other hand, JJMP cadres have killed eight civilians and a lone SF trooper since 2007-08. The last civilian killing was reported on March 28, 2022, when suspected JJMP cadres killed the wife and three-year-old daughter of former JJMP ‘commander’ Amarjit Lakra aka Ashok, near Kanchan More in Janawal village under Chainpur Police Station limits in Gumla District. It was alleged that, in October 2021, Amarjit, and his companions had killed JJMP’s ‘platoon commander’ Sukar Oraon and fled with weapons and money. Since then, JJMP militants were looking to kill him. Amarjit’s house was also destroyed by the JJMP cadres. However, JJMP ‘spokesperson’ Karmaveer issued a press release and vehemently denied attacking Amarjit and his family, stating, “our organization has no hand in this attack and some people are taking the name of JJMP organization to defame it.”

The lone SF fatality connected to JJMP activities was reported on September 28, 2021, when a Deputy Commandant of the Jharkhand Jaguars was killed in an exchange of fire between SFs and JJMP cadres during a combing operation in the Saliya Forest area of Latehar District. One JJMP cadre was also killed in the encounter. 

In 2007-08, Sanjay Yadav aka Manjit ji, a CPI-Maoist renegade ‘area commander’, with a bounty of INR 1.5 million on his head, first started his own gang and then formed JJMP. Yadav had joined the Maoists in year 2004-05, due to financial difficulties at home. He subsequently created a 50-member strong cadre base, trained in operating sophisticated weapons. On February 5, 2011, Yadav, who styled himself as the ‘zonal commander’ of JJMP, declared, “We have formed this outfit as we do not agree with the ideology of the Maoist organisations operating in the state.” After the formation of the JJMP, he continued to carry out operations in Gumla, Lohardaga and Latehar. Later, on March 27, 2018, influenced by the ‘Nayi Disha’ (new direction) surrender policy as well as pressure from family members, he surrendered before the then Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Amol Vinukant Homkar, in Lohardaga District. 

After Yadav’s surrender in 2018, it was alleged that the Police and SFs had provided weapons to local fighters to support JJMP against the Maoists. Interestingly, in the same year, a photograph of JJMP’s current ‘supremo’, ‘zonal commander’ Pappu Lohra, with Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) personnel, went viral. The photo was from the time of an ongoing search operation against Naxalites [Left Wing extremists, LWEs] in 2018. At that time Pappu Lohra was helping the Police and SFs in operations against other Naxalite organizations. Later, when questions were raised on the SFs’ role, senior Police officers admitted, off the record, to a tacit policy of encouraging renegade or expelled Maoists to form separate armed groups, in order to reduce the influence of Maoists in the area. An unnamed senior Police officer in the State capital, Ranchi, thus stated, on July 14, 2016,

Over the years, the state police and the Central Reserve Police Force have used these groups as they liked, using the enemy against the enemy you can say. But now, they have free rein only in some areas, depending on the decision of some district superintendents. The institutional support these groups enjoyed from the top is reducing, and will gradually be withdrawn.

Indeed, over the years, villagers as well as several civil society activists had accused the Police of supporting militias such as the JJMP. Nevertheless, when the organization later became a nuisance for the Police, the Government started taking action against JJMP. 

To contain the menace, the Government has placed a reward on eight infamous JJMP cadres, among the List of 136 Naxalites/Criminals with rewards on their heads. These eight include: 

  • Pappu Lohra aka Somed Lohra (resident of Ludicone, Latehar). The head of the organization and a ‘zonal commander’, on whom the Government placed a reward of INR 1 million.
  • Manohar Parhaiya aka Manohar ji (resident of Ambatikar, Chhipadohar, Latehar), ‘Zonal Committee Member’, with a reward of INR 1 million. 
  • Birbal Oraon aka Sushil Oraon (resident of Mandhania, Manika, Latehar), ‘sub-zonal’ commander, with a reward of INR 500,000.
  • Ravindra Yadav (resident of Nawa, Ramgarh, Palamu), ‘sub-zonal’ militant in the party, with a reward of INR 500,000. 
  • Ganesh Lohra (resident of Matuli, Panki, Palamu), ‘special zonal member’ (SZM), with a reward of INR 500,000.
  • Firoz Ansari (resident of Reuben, Johar, Lohardaga), ‘area commander’, with a reward of INR 200,000 on his head. 
  • Raghunath Singh Kherwar aka Raghu Ji (resident of Ledhpa, Bendi, Latehar), ‘area commander’, with a reward of INR 200,000. 
  • Lalindra Mahato (resident of Simardih, Kisco, Lohardaga), a senior member of the organization, with a reward of INR 100,000 on his head. 

Further, according to an October 1, 2021, report, recommendations of rewards were processed for the following JJMP cadres: prize money of INR 500,000: Lovelesh Ganjhu (‘sub zonal commander’, Latehar), Ravi aka Sumesh Oraon (member, Garhwa), Rajesh Yadav aka Rajesh Tiger (member, Lohardaga), Rajeshwar Prasad aka Bhola (member, Lohardaga), Ramdev Lohra aka Sadhu (member, Lohardaga), Amit Lohra (Member, Latehar) and Mukesh Ram aka Kullu (Latehar). Prize money of INR 100,000, was envisaged for Shiva Singh (resident of Godna, Latehar), Ganesh Lohra aka Vikas ji Bhagwan (resident of Panki, Palamu) and Shiv Poojan (resident of Garhwa). 

In order to take on the extremists operating in the State, the Lohardaga Police resorted to a poster campaign at different prominent locations, besides bus stands and block offices in the district, to seek the help of the common people to arrest extremists associated with JJMP, TPC and CPI-Maoist. 

JJMP is one among 18 Left Wing Extremist groups operating in Jharkhand. Other significant outfits include the CPI-Maoist, People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI) and TPC. PLFI is a CPI-Maoist splinter group formed by Dinesh Gope, founder and current ‘chief’ of the outfit, a renegade Border Security Force (BSF) trooper, who was the younger brother of Suresh Gope, a petty criminal who operated in areas around Ranchi. Likewise, TPC is another CPI-Maoist splinter group, formed by Brajesh Ganjhu aka Sardar ji, a former CPI-Maoist cadre in the Lawalong area of Chatra in 2001, and formally constituted in 2002, after a number of cadres of the CPI-Maoist in Jharkhand walked out of the parent formation, complaining of the domination of the Yadav caste in the decision-making process.

According to a July 14, 2016, report, JJMP and TPC were in a continuous competition to establish their dominance over ‘levy’ collection and areas of operation.

JJMP, mostly involved with ‘levy’ demands from businessmen and contractors, was more akin to an organized crime gang than any ideology-driven movement. Indeed, in a recent incident on September 17, 2022, angered by the failure to meet its ‘levy’ demand, a nine-member armed squad of JJMP created a ruckus at construction site of a bridge being built under the Chief Minister Gram Setu Yojana on the Hathu River at Chete village in the Garhwa District. JJMP cadres assaulted laborers and employees of the Construction company and warned them to stop construction work as the ‘levy’ had not been paid. JJMP cadres also snatched half a dozen mobiles and, before fleeing, damaged a JCB machine.   

Analysis of the data, however, indicates that JJMP failed to create significant impact in the State, even as it suffered severe losses at the hands of SFs, as well as in the turf war with other LWE groups. Moreover, internal fissures further weakened the group, resulting in the formation of another two factions. On December 14, 2021, with the arrest of seven Jharkhand Kranti Morcha (JKM) cadres, including Shankar Ram akaSaurabh, who was the ‘chief’ in Latehar District, it came to light that Ram, along with few others, had formed JKM on an unspecified date in 2021. After Ram’s arrest in the Patki Forest under Sadar Police Station limits, the current operational status of the outfit is uncertain.

Further, on November 29, 2021, seven JJMP cadres rebelled and formed the Jharkhand Jan Sangram Senani (JJSS), with Diwakar aka Bahura and Amar Oraon as its joint ‘chiefs’. Diwakar and Oraon fled with many sophisticated weapons after killing Sukar Oraon, ‘chief’ of JJMP in Gumla. Unconfirmed reports claimed that JJSS cadres were establishing contact with unemployed youth in villages in the Gumla, Chainpur and Ghaghra Blocks, and presently counted 17 armed cadres in the organization. The group reportedly possesses AK-47s, INSAS (Indian Small Arms System) assault rifles, pistols and Light Machine Guns (LMGs). 

On September 22, 2022, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren held a high-level meeting to review law and order in the State, including extremism and crime control. Information disclosed during the meeting indicated that there had been a steady decline in the incidents of militant violence in the State due to SF operations. Nevertheless, the CPI-Maoist succeeded in executing 22 incidents, PLFI 13 incidents, TPC nine and the JJMP 10, in the current year.

In their action against JJMP, SFs had arrested at least 14 cadres in the current year (data till October 2, 2022). During the corresponding period of 2021, two JJMP cadres were arrested. A total of 14 JJMP cadres were arrested through 2021. Since 2007-08, when JJMP was formed, at least 66 JJMP cadres have been arrested by the SFs. 

Mounting SF pressure has led to the surrender of two JJMP cadres in 2022 (data till October 2), for the first time, since its formation in 2007-08. On July 16, 2022, a JJMP ‘area commander’, identified as Sanjay Prajapati, who carried with a reward of INR 200,000, surrendered before the Police in Latehar District; and on January 8, 2022, JJMP ‘sub-zonal commander’ Bhavani Bhuiyan aka Bhagirithi, a resident of Huntar in Palamu, active in Latehar and Garhwa Districts, who was earlier associated with TPC and had joined the JJMP in 2016, surrendered before the Police in Palamu District. 

Further, in combing operations on six occasions, SFs recovered arms belonging to / meant for JJMP, in the current year (data till October 2, 2022), in addition to six such incidents through 2021. Since 2007-08, at least 23 such incidents of recovery are on record. 

SFs have succeeded in curbing the JJMP menace, establishing dominance in the areas where the group was active. A residual challenge persists, to contain the lingering strength of the outfit through further and sustained operations.

*Deepak Kumar Nayak
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management

SATP

SATP, or the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP) publishes the South Asia Intelligence Review, and is a product of The Institute for Conflict Management, a non-Profit Society set up in 1997 in New Delhi, and which is committed to the continuous evaluation and resolution of problems of internal security in South Asia. The Institute was set up on the initiative of, and is presently headed by, its President, Mr. K.P.S. Gill, IPS (Retd).

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