Ranchi (Jharkhand), June 15 : Increasing number of robberies in the Naxalite affected rural areas of Jharkhand have become a concern for banks here since the vehicles while shifting treasure from one place to another are often attacked and looted.
It is a common knowledge that Naxalites require a huge sum of money to operate in any area. For this, they often view such bank robberies as the easiest way out to arrange funds for their nefarious activities.
Last month, Maoists robbed rupees five crore (50 million rupees) of a private bank when the money was being taken to Ranchi via road. It was looted by firing in the air and then injuring a security guard of the bank.
A. K. Sinha, Zonal I. G., said: "Around five crore rupees (50 million rupees) of the ICICI Bank were being taken from a private security company's van. But when the people accompanying it stopped to drink water, at least five to six people arrived and started firing at them. These people, however, managed to escape."
According to sources, the Maoists fetch around Rs.1,500 crore (15 billion rupees) through different sources.
About 31 incidents of bank robbery have occurred since 2004.
In 2004, there were six incidents of bank robberies that cost a loss of about Rs. 45 lakh (4.5 million rupees) to the banks. However, in 2005, there were eight cased of robberies costing about Rs. 55 lakh (5.5 million rupees).
In 2006, there were seven bank robberies and about 64 lakh rupees (6.4 million rupees) were looted. However, in 2007, there were five incidents of bank robberies causing a loss of Rs. 21 lakh (2.1 million rupees).
In 2008 (till May), there have been two robberies causing the banks a loss of whopping Rs. 6.50 crore (65 million rupees). Overall, there has been a loss of eight crore (80 million rupees) suffered by Banks since 2004.
Most of these incidents have taken place in rural areas and the involvement of Naxals is suspected.
Meanwhile, taking lessons from these incidents, the local banks have decided to take all the necessary steps to prevent such incident from occuring. R. N. Singh, the Chief Manager of the State level Bankers' Committee, said: "Recently, a State level security meeting was held where it was appealed that the criteria made by the banks should be followed strictly. The State government has also assured its help for protection during transiting the treasure. In this context, the State government has played a very proactive role."
It is worth remembering that banks play a significant role in the commercial activities of the State. If banks closed down their operations in the wake of such developments, it is bound to directly affect the poor people for which the Naxalites claim to be raging a war against the government. By Girija Shankar Ojha