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Negotiations on to end Maoist siege of Patna jail

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 18, 2007

Patna, Dec 18 – Hundreds of agitating Maoist inmates continued their siege of the inner wing of Patna’s high-security Beur jail Tuesday, protesting against alleged ill treatment by the jail authorities even as officials began a dialogue with them to end the stalemate.

Inspector General (Law and Order) Bihar Police Anil Sinha claimed the situation was under control in Beur jail and negotiations were on with the agitating Maoist inmates.’The situation is under control. We are continuing negotiations with the Maoist inmates and looking into their demands,’ Sinha told newspersons.He said top officials of the jail department, police and district administration were negotiating with the agitating Maoist inmates.’Hopefully, everything will be resolved soon,’ Sinha said.Downplaying the Maoists’ siege, Sinha said only 200 Maoist inmates have been agitating in support of their demands, including a probe into a suicide by a Maoist inmate, Nageena Manjhi, a few days ago in the jail.According to sources in the district administration, negotiations with the Maoist inmates could not succeed as they have demanded a compensation of Rs.2.5 million for Manjhi’s kin.Armed personnel of the Bihar Police, Special Task Force and Special Auxiliary Police have moved closer to the jail, ready to use force to break the siege, should that be necessary officials said.

It all started when Maoist inmates attacked police personnel on duty inside the jail, forcing them to flee. The inmates freed two top Maoist leaders, including Ajay Kanu, by breaking open the iron door of his cell.Kanu was the mastermind behind the 2005 Jehanabad jailbreak when around 300 inmates, including 150 Maoists, escaped. He was later arrested and lodged in Beur jail.The Maoists also reportedly assaulted some inmates, including a legislator, who tried to pacify them.Maoists have been staging a protest inside the jail premises for the last few days after Nagina Manjhi, 40, a member of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), committed suicide Dec 14.
(c) Indo-Asian News Service

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