Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Forward Bloc leader killed by Naxalites

OUR CORRESPONDENT
Jamshedpur, March 23: Forward Bloc general secretary Shankar Das Goswami was shot by suspected Naxalites at Chaliama village under the Nimdih block of adjoining Seraikela-Kharsawan district late last night.

Goswami was returning home after attending a religious function at a nearby village. It was about 1.30am when Goswami left the venue and after travelling for about half-a-kilometre was attacked by a group. According to eyewitness reports, two men caught Goswami while two others opened fire. The Forward Bloc leader received four bullets and died on the spot.

The villagers, who witnessed the gruesome killing, could not muster courage to chase the assailants. Police rushed to the spot and shifted the body to the MGM Medical College and Hospital for post-mortem.

The attack has taken place only five days after the police encountered rebels at Chaliama and Dungri Pahar forests while patrolling. Chaliama is a Naxalite-dominated village and the police are not ruling out a rebel hand in the murder. “We are keeping all our options open while carrying out the investigation,” said Shital Oraon, the superintendent of police, Seraikela-Kharsawan. The police have started combing operations in areas bordering Bengal. As Chaliama is near Bengal’s Purulia district, the Naxalites find it easy to sneak into Bengal after executing their plans.

But no Naxalite outfit has claimed responsibility for the murder yet.

Sources in the police said it was the second such attack on Goswami. In November last year, the rebels had locked his house and created panic among his family members. Goswami has been associated with the Forward Bloc for the past 25 years and was the general-secretary of the Seraikela-Kharsawan district.

Former deputy chief minister and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader Sudhir Mahto went to the MGM Medical College and Hospital and met the bereaved family members.

Mahto was certain that this is a Naxalite-sponsored murder. “The Naxalites have once again shown their ugly face by eliminating a good politician from the Nimidih area,” he said.

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