The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Maoists blow up tourist bungalow

Purulia, Jan. 23: Maoists blew up a tourist bungalow under construction in Bandwan, where a CPM leader and his wife were burnt alive last month, early this morning.

More than half of the two-storey house, being built at a cost of Rs 12 lakh by the zilla parishad to promote Duarsini in Bandwan ' 350 km from Calcutta ' as a tourist spot, turned into a heap of rubble. However, no one was injured.

While fleeing the spot, 5 km from Bhomragarh where Rabindranath Kar and Anandamoyee were killed by the extremists in the early hours of December 31, they left behind posters and pamphlets giving reason for the strike.

'They (the guerrillas) feared that the building will not be utilised as a tourist bungalow and would serve as a police camp instead,' an officer of the Bandwan police station said.

Inspector-general, western range, Banibrata Basu said: 'We had no plans to set up a police camp in the building.'

Around 1.30 am, a group of about 40 CPI (Maoist) activists surrounded the bungalow scheduled to be thrown open to tourists before Durga Puja.

'The caretaker of the building was asked to leave and the rebels planted explosives in various corners of it. It was not difficult as the doors are yet to be fitted,' a Bandwan officer said. They used wires to detonate the explosives from a safe distance.

'After the operation, they crossed the Satgurung river and fled towards Jharkhand,' the officer added.

The posters they left behind urged the villagers to make their Republic Day bandh call a success, said another officer.

District police chief R. Shivkumar said the rebels had come from Jharkhand.

Villagers said the strike is a pointer to the incompetence of the police. 'The bungalow is only 4 km from the Kuchia camp, which houses 32 heavily armed policemen. Even after hearing the explosion, none of them gave chase to the attackers,' said Haripada Mahato.

The rebels had attacked the same police camp before killing the Kars. The personnel had then fired to save themselves and sat tight.

The criminal investigation department arrested Dulu Soren and Sagar Singh Sardar from Belpahari in West Midnapore yesterday in connection with the killing of the CPM leader and his wife.

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