Saturday, July 25, 2009

Maoists abduct police officer

Sukumar Mahato, TNN 25 July 2009, 06:16am IST

LALGARH: Maoists on Friday abducted a police officer in Lalgarh in protest against police atrocities on innocent villagers. A police team which went
to rescue the abducted officer had to beat a hasty retreat after facing strong resistance from the Maoists. Police do not have any idea yet about where the abducted officer has been taken to.

It was around 2 pm in the afternoon when a truck carrying water from Midnapore was heading for the Bhimpur police camp. Banamali Mahato was driving the vehicle with Santosh Murmu as his helper.

Deepak Pramanik, an assistant sub-inspector, boarded the truck from Pirakata police camp. He was supposed to get off at Bhimpur.

When the truck came near Pirrakhuli village, a few hundred people blocked the road and dragged all three out of the vehicle. Villagers claimed that early in the morning, a police team went to Belasole village and tortured several people.

The mob then took the truck deep inside the Sitalpur forest, where some armed rebels had been waiting. They punctured the tyres of the truck and set it ablaze. "When the Maoists asked about our identities, Deepak said he was a policeman. Then they took us into another area of the dense forest on motorcycles," said Banamali.

All three were taken to Garwa village, where the driver and the cleaner were set free after a few hours, following initial interrogation.

But Deepak was not released. "He was badly beaten up after he tried to escape. He even bit the hand of one of the rebels who had been escorting him," said helper Santosh.

Maoist leaders, however, claimed that Deepak has been arrested and he won't be released unless he signed a declaration stating that police will not torture common villagers any more.

Meanwhile, PCPA spokesperson Chhatradhar Mahato alleged that a police team badly assaulted three villagers, including a Class-IX student, at Tarki village in Lalgarh.

Soon after news of the abduction spread, a huge police team marched towards Pirrakhuli to rescue Deepak. They had to return after the Maoists started firing and throwing bombs at them. Late in the evening, senior officers rushed to the spot to arrange a combing operation in the area.

Meanwhile, seven CPM panchayat members from Dharampur and Baita, including the pradhan and upapradhan, officially submitted their resignation letters during the day.

Maoists abduct police officer in Lalgarh

Staff Reporter

KOLKATA: A group of armed men, suspected to be Maoists and supporters of the Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee abducted a police officer and two others at Pirrakhuli, 14 km from Lalgarh in West Bengal’s Paschim Medinipur district on Friday.

Though the other two persons were later released, the police officer was held hostage.

The rebels hijacked a water tanker on its way from the Pirakata base camp to the Bhimpur base camp with Assistant Sub-Inspector Dipak Pramanik onboard, along with the driver Banamali Mahato and the cleaner Santosh Mahato.

The tanker was taken to the dense Bankishole forest and set ablaze. All the three abducted were badly beaten up.

While Banamali and Santosh were released after a few hours, police is yet to trace Mr. Pramanik. “We have sent search teams to several areas to rescue Mr. Pramanik,” Director-General of Police Bhupinder Singh told The Hindu.

The Maoists are suspected to have taken Mr. Pramanik to their stronghold in the dense forests adjoining Dharampur.

Heavy exchange of gunfire between the security forces and the Maoists was reported from Kantapahari later on Friday evening. The security forces have set up a base camp there.

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