Aug. 30: About eight hours after he was kidnapped by a group of Maoist Communist Centre activists, Raghunath Murmu, a CPM zonal committee member of Ranibandh in Bankura was rescued early on Friday from the dense Belpahari forest.
A popular quack, Murmu, and his assistant were abducted at gunpoint by slogan-shouting MCC men around 7 pm yesterday as he was locking up his chamber, a short distance from his house at Majgeria village in Ranibandh.
The assistant, who was released on way to the forest, returned to alert the police.
There were claims and counter claims on whether Murmu was rescued by the police or released by the MCC. According to one report, Murmu was found tied to a tree in the forest about 10 km from where he was abducted and the police saved him.
A district police official said the MCC activists had “released” Murmu.
They told him that during the 25-year regime of the Left Front, there has been no development in the forests of Bankura, Purulia and Paschim Midnapore. “Your party has done nothing for the poor people living in the forests of the adjoining districts in 25 years. We are warning you… Tell your leaders to do something, or, we will have to think about more dangerous moves,” the MCC activists reportedly told Murmu.
The CPM supporter told his district leaders that he was picked up by the MCC cadre at gunpoint and marched for miles through the forest in the dark.
“All three were talking in the local dialect. They told me that they will not hesitate to kill our party leaders if we don’t take up development works immediately for the people living in the forests of Barikul and the adjoining areas,” Murmu said.
“Murmu was very popular in his area and many depended on him for treatment. May be, the MCC activists feared a backlash and spared him,” a local CPM functionary said.
The party’s state secretariat, which met this morning in Calcutta, expressed concern over the incident. CPM leaders have apparently been threatened in several south Bengal districts.