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Shravani Mela: Police to escort pilgrims in Maoist areas of Bihar | Hindustan Times

Preparations are complete for pilgrims of Shravani Mela at Sultanganj, where they will collect water from the Ganges and proceed to Deoghar.(Niraj/Hindustan Times)

Pilgrims participating in the month-long Shravani Mela beginning Monday will be escorted by the police, while crossing the 11-km Gangta forest stretch, a hardcore Maoist area, in Jamui district.

Though the Naxals have not targeted kanwariyas (devotees), incidents of loot and road hold-ups have been common at Laxmipur block in Jamui, prompting the administration to extend security cover to pilgrims along this route. The most recent road hold-up was reported last month, inspector general of police, Bhagalpur zone, Sushil Khopde said.

Maoists had ambushed a CRPF party in Jamui, killing two jawans and injuring four others, during the last Lok Sabha polls in April 2014. Around three months later, a CRPF officer was killed in a gunbattle with Maoists in Jamui.

Prior to that KC Surendra Babu, the then superintendent of police, Munger, was killed along with his five body guards in a Maoist landmine blast on January 5, 2005 inside the Bhimbandh wildlife sanctuary area in Munger.

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