Villagers in Jharkhand’s Latehar district beat to death a suspected member of a renegade Maoist faction while holding another captive on Thursday night. Two villagers were also severely injured in the assault by the ultras, police said.

The incident occurred at Bariyatu village under Manika police station area of the district.

Alerted by the screams of two brothers being thrashed by a group of armed insurgents, the villagers mounted a counter-attack and managed to catch Ranjit Das and Daroga Oraon from the spot while their accomplices managed to escape the fury of the locals, police said.

The villagers then thrashed both of them with sticks. Ranjit Ram, a resident of Matlong village died on the spot while Daroga Oraon managed to survive the assault. Oraon belonged to Lesliganj police station in the adjoining Palamu district.

According to villagers, a group of five armed persons claiming allegiance to Jharkhand Jan Mukti Parishad (JJMP), a Maoist faction, knocked at Jitendra Singh’s house on Thursday night. When the family refused to open the door, they threatened to shoot them while identifying themselves as henchmen of Pappu Lohra, the JJMP boss.

“Frightened by the death threat, we opened the door as they were claiming to be JJMP men and as soon my husband got out, they overpowered him and started beating him with sticks. They also beat Birendra Singh when he came to his brother’s rescue,” said Sindhu Devi, Jitendra’s wife.

Devi further said that they were fortunate that neighbours heard cries and rushed to support them that too in the dead of night, or else both could have been killed. Jitendra and Birendra both suffered injuries in the assault. They were later treated at a community health centre at Manika.

JJMP is a group of Maoists’ deserters and it enjoys a considerable influence in Manika police station area of Latehar district. On Friday morning, the villagers reached Manika and informed the police about the incident.

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