By Deepak Kumar Nayak*
On December 15, 2021, Police arrested seven cadres of the Jharkhand Jan Mukti Parishad (JJMP), a splinter group of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), from Khajuri village under the Panki Police Station area in Palamu District. Among those arrested was Praveen Lohra, brother of JJMP ‘chief’ Pappu Lohra. All the arrestees were involved in recces, providing information about Police movements, and economic activities in the area, which they reported to the ‘commander.’ Following this, ‘levy’ (extortion amount) was collected from the targets for the organization.
On October, 21, 2021, two JJMP cadres, identified as Dhirender Kumar and Sonu Korwa, were arrested near the Hutar Colliery in Latehar District. Dhirender and Sonu admitted to be working for Manohar Parhaiya’s JJMP squad. Police recovered two country made pistols, five rounds of ammunition and one cell phone from their possession.
On October 19, 2021, Latehar and Manika Police arrested three JJMP cadres, identified as Vinay Singh Chero, Vishwanath Oraon, and Sujit Oraon, and recovered ammunition and a Scooty, in Latehar District. Vinay Singh was identified as a ‘sub zonal commander’ with 22 cases registered against him, and who who was involved in arranging funds for the outfit. He extracted money from the Ramgarh and Chatra Districts. Vishwanath was an ‘area commander’, and Sujit, a cadre. Police recovered 200 live cartridges, levy receipt books, six cell phones, four diaries and one Scooty. Latehar, Superintendent of Police, Anjani Anjan disclosed that the trio has been involved in the encounter on September 28, 2021, in which a Deputy Commandant of Jharkhand Jaguars, and a cadre of the JJMP, were killed during a combing operation in the Saliya Forest area of Latehar District.
According to data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), at least 14 JJMP cadres have been arrested in the current year, thus far (data till December 26, 2021). There was no such arrest in 2020. Since its formation in 2005, at least 52 JJMP cadres have been arrested.
11 JJMP cadres have been killed during this period: five by Security Forces (SFs) and five in factional clashes. One JJMP cadre was lynched by civilians. Of the 11 killed, four were killed in the current year: two by SFs and two in factional clashes.
On the other hand, JJMP cadres have killed six civilians and a lone trooper since 2005. The last civilian killing was reported on March 12, 2021, when JJMP cadres shot dead a supervisor of a private firm near Bareini More in Latehar District, after he lodged a Police complaint against them for extortion. The last SF killing was reported on September 28, 2021, when a Deputy Commandant of Jharkhand Jaguars was killed in an exchange of fire between the SFs and JJPM cadres during a combing operation in the Saliya Forest area in Latehar District. One JJMP cadre was also killed in the encounter.
The JJMP came into existence in 2005 when Sanjay Yadav aka Manjit ji, a CPI-Maoist renegade ‘area commander’, started his own gang. According to a February 6, 2011, media report, the created a 50-member strong cadre base, trained in operating sophisticated weapons. Speaking to media persons at his training camp on February 5, 2011, Manjitji, 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.”
The data, however, indicates that JJMP was not able to establish a significant presence in the State, even as it suffered several losses at the hands of the SFs. Moreover, internal rifts further weakened the group.
Most recently, on October 31, 2021, the body of Sukar Oraon, ‘chief’ of JJMP in Gumla, was found in Lawadag village under the Ghaghra Police Station of Gumla District. Oraon’s bullet-ridden body was found in his bed under a tree, where he was sleeping. Police recovered around a dozen spent cartridges and INR 3,200 in cash. JJMP cadres had set up a temporary camp in the forest area of Lawadag. It is likely that Oraon was killed by his men following a dispute over the distribution of ‘levy’. Oraon had been active in Gumla District for the preceding nine years and had expanded JJMP’s base in the District. But he is said to have never shared ‘levy’ money with his team.
Soon after, on November 29, 2021, seven JJMP cadres rebelled and formed the Jharkhand Jan Sangram Senani (JJSS). JJSS has two ‘chiefs’: Diwakar aka Bahura and Amar Oraon. At present, there are 17 armed cadres in JJSS, reportedly armed with AK-47s, INSAS (Indian Small Arms System) assault rifles, pistols and Light Machine Guns (LMGs). Diwakar and Amar fled with many sophisticated weapons after killing Sukar, a resident of Pali village under Senha Police Station in Lohardaga District. Sukar fled with a cache of sophisticated weapons from the CPI-Maoist in 2012, and was heading JJSS operations in the Gumla District. Sukar had collected a large amount of ‘levy’ from the area in nine years, and did not share the money collected with anyone in the organization.
Harassed by JJMP, unconfirmed media reports claim that JJSS has now started expanding its organization. JJSS cadres are establishing contact with unemployed youth in the villages in the Gumla, Chainpur and Ghaghra Blocks.
Earlier in the year, Shankar Ram aka Saurabh, along with few others, formed the Jharkhand Kranti Morcha (JKM), after splitting away from JJMP. On December 14, 2021, seven JKM cadres, including Shankar Ram, who was the ‘supremo’, were arrested by the Police in Latehar District. Shankar Ram was arrested along with Zarina Khatoon aka Haseena Khatoon aka Haseena from Patki Forest under Sadar Police Station limits, with loaded pistols, live bullets, Naxal [Left Wing Extremist, LWE] posters and mobile phones. Following their disclosure five similarly armed cadres of the organization were arrested from Kope village under the Manika Police Station limits of the district.
There are around 19 LWE groups operating in Jharkhand, prominently including the CPI-Maoist, People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI), Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC) and JJMP. Recent developments, however, indicated that JJMP has been weakened considerably, and could well be entirely contained by sustained and continuous operational pressure.
* Deepak Kumar Nayak, Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management