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Lalgarh: Police fire on mob, 1 dead

Posted by Admin on December 11, 2009

– Rebels kill 4 CPM activists, stir trouble at cop camp

Midnapore, Dec. 10: Police firing killed a man and injured several others who were part of a mob allegedly backed by Maoists that raided their camp this evening, capping a 24-hour spell in which the guerrillas gunned down four CPM supporters, looted homes and torched an office.

Those who stormed the state armed police camp at Satbari in Salboni, 15km from Midnapore town, were allegedly armed with bombs and pistols.

They were protesting this morning’s arrest of alleged Maoist squad member Dipali Mahato in connection with a blast on November 27 which killed two cops.The police said that between six and seven this evening, a large crowd gathered in front of the camp and tried to prevent two groups of policemen from entering after duty. The mob dispersed when chased, only to reassemble.

When reinforcements arrived at 7.30, the van drove through, but scores of people made it in, too, following it.Once inside, the police said, they started hurling bombs and firing.West Midnapore superintendent Manoj Verma the police fired in “self-defence”.“While four people took bullets, four sustained splinter injuries from bombs that some of their own were throwing.”

None of the policemen was injured.One of the injured villagers, Tapas Mondal, said they were not armed. “Some people came from behind and started firing at the police.”The police suspect the firing from behind was a Maoist handiwork.

During the day, villagers found three bullet-riddled bodies laid side by side on a road barely 3km from Jhargram town. A fourth had been left behind about a kilometre from a police camp in Salboni.“All the murders took place within 3 to 5km of camps where the forces are staying,” an officer said. The victims were Manik Mahato, 42, Bijoy Mahato, 30, Brihaspati Mahato, 35, and Rabi Mahato, 45.

Posters the assailants left behind screamed out against the joint forces’ operations in Lalgarh. “The Maoists have been driven out to a large extent from Lalgarh and its surroundings. So, now they are killing people in Jhargram and Salboni,” said Verma.

However, as if to prove their presence, the guerrillas torched the beat office in Jhitka forest on the outskirts of Lalgarh town and looted its staff quarters. Employees were dragged out and thrashed.“They took away television sets and DVD players and broke the furniture,” said forest guard Duryodhan Mudi.

Among the slain, Manik and Bijoy were related to each other. A Mallabhum Grameen Bank employee, Manik was a CPM branch secretary and secretary of the managing committee of a local high school. Bijoy was his nephew and both used to stay at Lohamelia village in Jhargram as part of a 26-member family.Brihaspati, who lived in the nearby Saralia village, owned a stationery shop.

Bijoy’s father Binod said 50 to 60 people came around 11 last night and called out the names of his son and brother. “We opened the door and found Maoists with rifles,” he said. “The Maoists told us they will take Bijoy and Manik to a kangaroo court that will decide how they should be punished for their CPM links.”

Brihaspati was picked up from his shop, where he used to spend the nights. His body was found near Jhargram’s Sebayatan Polytechnic College.Rabi’s body was found near the Salgeria police camp in Salboni, 3km from his home. TT

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