Saturday, February 27, 2010

Inspector, Maoist killed as forces raise Bengal heat

Express News Service Posted online: Friday , Feb 26, 2010 at 0344 hrs

Kolkata : Even as Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and top Maoist leader Kishenji are setting their pre-conditions for any possible talks, violence in Naxal-hit Bankura spiralled today with Maoists gunning down the inspector in-charge of Sarenga police station, while he was returning after a fierce gunbattle with them during which the joint forces are said to have displayed a renewed “aggression”.
The encounter, in which a Maoist was killed and two others were injured, came a day before Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee begins his visit to Naxal-hit Bankura and Purulia.

The incident occurred early Thursday morning near the house of a local CPM leader in Sonardanga village which the Maoists raided.

Sources said for the first time in months, villagers called up Sarenga police station to inform that 10-15 Maoists had attacked the local CPM leader Tarashankar Patra’s house. IC Rabilocahan Maitro promptly reached the village with an armed police team just when the Maoists were reportedly trying to kill Patra, who is also a panchayat member.

According to police, Patra stayed in a concrete house while his brother lived close by in a mud house. The Maoists first stormed into the mud house and took Patra’s brother out. He was then asked to call out his elder brother at gun point. When the CPM leader came out of his house, the Maoists started beating him mercilessly.

Soon after, the Sarenga police team reached the spot and a team of the joint forces from Lalgarh joined in. They engaged the ultras in a gunbattle, killing one of them, who was later identified as Jagannath Duley, a resident of Saluka village in Bankura. Two other Maoists were injured in the firing and fled.

After the Maoists retreated, Maitro decided to take an injured Patra to the local hospital. As he was returning to the police station with his force, two Maoists hiding in an under-construction building opened fire and shot him point blank. The joint forces retaliated and another Maoist, identified as Mithun, was reportedly injured. Patra has been admitted to Bankura Sammilani Medical College while Mithun was taken to Sarenga hospital, the police said.

“The Maoists who attacked Patra’s house had come from Lalgarh, which is 2 km from the village, and they fled the same way,” said a senior official.

State Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen said, “It showed the police morale was quite high despite Silda.” “We have lost an excellent officer. He will be awarded the Guard of Honour today at the Bankura police lines. We have started combing operations in the area,” said Bankura SP Vishal Garg.

DGP Bhupinder Singh said the slain inspector’s name was being recommended for President’s medal for bravery.

After dropping cop’s cell number, Kishenji’s call drops
The Vodaphone number 9734695789 that top Maoist commander Kishenji had given to the Union home ministry through the media to reach him at is now switched off and has been found to be belonging to a police constable attached to Belpahari police station, who was abducted and later released by the Maoists, the police said.

The SIM was taken away from the constable during his captivity.

According to police sources, the SIM card with the Vodaphone number 9734695789 belongs to Sisir Kanti Nag, who along with another constable Hiteswar Singh was abducted by the Maoists in October last.

The ultras had initially said they would be released only when top PCAPA leader Chhatradhar Mahato was freed by the state government.

“The mobile phones of both the constables were snatched initially. However, the mobile phone of Hiteswar Singh was returned to him later. Both of them were released after a day. After the incident, Nag was posted in Midnapore Police Lines,” said a senior police officer. Nag wanted to block his SIM card but senior police officers and the CID were said to have told him not to block it. “We asked him not to block the SIM card as we got information that Kishenji had started using it. We used to get the tower location of Kishenji from this number. We were monitoring the number for the last few days too,” added the officer.’

DGP Bhupinder Singh said, “We were well informed about the matter. We have got every details of Sisir Nag and in no way he is associated with the Maoists. So there is no need for any kind of inquiry into the matter.”

Home department sources said after the number was given to the Union home ministry through the media, the mobile phone was switched off.

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