After lying low for a year, Jharkhand’s banned criminal outfit People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI) has returned to the border pockets of Odisha. This came to light after Sundargarh district police, after an exchange of fire, busted a temporary PLFI camp.
On a tip-off, police and DVF personnel, led by Sundargarh SP Sanjeev Arora and Rajgangpur IIC A K Swain, raided the camp at Demuljharan forest near Chandiposh village of Rajgangpur block on Friday night. More than seven PLFI operatives, led by their leaders Arjun Gope and Raja, opened fire at the police party. When police retaliated, they escaped into the forest under the cover of darkness.
Arora said the seizures included nine rifles, one pistol, 68 KF ball ammunition (8 mm) and six other ammunition (7.62 mm). Combing operation was underway to nab them.
The return of the outfit members to Sundargarh has posed a fresh challenge for Sundargarh and Rourkela police. In July last year, soon after BJD leader Hardeep Singh was killed by PLFI activists, the then Rourkela SP Himanshu Lal had conducted a raid on Jharkhand village. During the raid, police killed a PLFI member and arrested five others.
Later, Sundargarh district police nabbed PLFI area commander Bijay Kant after an encounter. Subsequently, the PLFI was crippled with the arrest of around two dozens operatives. Sundargarh police recently gunned down four members, including two top leaders of another Jharkhand-based outfit Pahadi Cheetah, an offshoot of PLFI. IGP (western range) R K Sharma said the PLFI is at loggerheads with the Maoists in Jharkhand as a small PLFI faction recently stayed put in Sundargarh.
Sharma said a team of Gurundia police under RPD was sent to Tamperkela village on Saturday for follow-up action amid reports that PLFI members, after killing one Surath Lugun, had disposed of his body at Siridiha forest.