Saturday, July 11, 2009

On the run, Lalgarh Maoists turn extortionists

Express News Service

Even as the joint forces of the Centre and the state are carrying out operations to flush out Maoists from Lalgarh, the latter are extorting money from the locals. On Friday, two CPM cadres, one of whom is a ration dealer, were killed by the Maoists when they refused to pay money to them.

“The two were CPM supporters and ration dealers. Those who are behind the murders are extortionists, preliminary investigation has revealed,” Home secretary Ardhendu Sen said.


Fearing reprisals from the Maoists, many CPM cadres have been telling people and sticking posters that they have left the party due to its “corrupt and Fascist policies”.


According to the villagers, about 50 armed Maoists, including seven women, raided Chapashole, Bagghora, Sundarlata and Sirshi villages of Chandragram panchayat in Midnapore Sadar Block on Friday looking for CPM supporters who were earlier threatened for their involvement with the party. They dragged out several people and beat them up severely. They also killed Baren Mahato and Gurucharan Mahato after the duo refused to pay the amount demanded by them.




The villagers alleged that a group of Maoists raided the house of Baren Mahato, a ration dealer, demanding Rs 2 lakh. When he refused to pay up, they ransacked his house and dragged him out. Another group raided Gurucharan Mahato’s house. As he was not there, they severely beat up his wife Sulekha and dragged her out. However, finding her husband on the way, the group let her off and caught Gurucharan. They took the duo to the forest, around three km away from their village, where they fired at the two and hacked them to death.


At 10 am on Saturday, the police recovered the bodies from the spot and found several Maoist posters claiming responsibility for the killing.


Later, the bodies were sent for autopsy to Midnapore Medical College and Hospital.


Midnapore West Superintendent of Police Manoj Verma, who declined to say anything over the extortion by the Maoists, said the incident occurred some 10 kilometre from the Lalgarh police station. Meanwhile, the ration dealers’ association of the district has called for a strike from Sunday onwards in protest against the killing of Baren Mahato by the Maoists.

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