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Outfit owns up to ambush

Oct. 17: The CPI(M-L) (People’s War) today claimed responsibility for the October 11 landmine blast in Purulia that killed Bandwan police station officer-in-charge Nilmadhav Das and injured several policemen.

In a press release issued on Wednesday, the Naxalite outfit’s state committee dubbed Das a “tormentor” and claimed the attack to be a “huge success”.

“The objective of the attack was to stop the pro-Left policemen’s plans to kill our squad members and remind them of people’s democratic rights,” says the release, signed by Soumen, who claims to be the state committee secretary.

Midnapore range DIG Sadhan Mondal said there is a strong possibility that the outfit is not acting alone; it may have joined forces with the Maoist Communist Centre.

Bandwan police led by the “infamous” officer had been torturing people and forcing them to protest against the outfit over the past six months, the release alleges.

“This police officer (Das) forced the people to set up night squads by holding several meetings at villages in the Bandwan area. He also used to force villagers to work against us and asked them to poison our squad,” says the release.

Das allegedly arrested villagers for attending the Naxalites’ meetings. On the day of the attack, he was on his way, with four jeeps, to arrest the villagers as police informers had told him about a meeting held on October 10, the release claims.

Senior officials in the Bandwan administration had earlier indicated that the attack was primarily aimed at Das because of recent raids and meetings he had conducted in the village urging people not to support the extremists.

The release says the landmine blast was an “overwhelming protest” in the form of an “armed resistance against the joint onslaught by the CPM and the police”. It claims that villagers were being arrested across Purulia and West Midnapore.

Four more persons, including two women, were arrested today in connection with the ambush and produced in court, said additional superintendent of police Tapas Ranjan Ghosh.

This takes the number of arrests to 17; one of those held is from Jharkhand.

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