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Murder at Maoist kangaroo court

Midnapore, March 5: Suspected Maoists in battle fatigues herded out nine CPM activists to a field in West Midnapore last night, executed the group leader and spared the others to tell the chilling tale of a kangaroo trial.

The attack came a few hours after CPM state secretary Anil Biswas gave a call in the same district to party activists to counter the Naxalites. The nine had returned from Biswas’s meeting.

The murder lengthens the list of casualties in Maoist violence in the poll-bound state ' last Sunday, four people were killed in a landmine blast in Belpahari, 35 km from the site of the latest attack.

Police said a group of eight Maoists, including a woman, carried out last night’s raid on Harulia village in Lalgarh, around 180 km from Calcutta.

The extremists went to a house where the CPM activists had assembled. “A small gathering, headed by Kartik Singha, was discussing Biswas’s instruction to counter the Maoists,” Banibrata Basu, the inspector-general of police, western range, said.

Singha, in his forties, and the others were taken to the field and ordered to sit down. “They suddenly asked Singha to come forward,” Bhim Soren, who was beaten and left tethered to a tree, said today.

“We were asked to keep our heads down. They were shouting at Singha, asking him why he had become a police informer for Rs 200. They also accused him of raping women. Then he was ordered to face the jungle nearby. We then heard four shots. When we looked up, Singha was lying on the ground.”

The seven others were let off with a message: “Quit the CPM within seven days or meet Singha’s fate.”

Biswas said in Calcutta that it was “a cowardly act”. “If they had guts, they could have raided a big meeting,” he added.

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