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Maoists shoot CPM leader

Purulia, Nov. 1: Maoists gunned down a CPM local committee member in Purulia shortly after midnight on Thursday and fled towards the Jharkhand border, police said.

“It is the handiwork of the Maoist squad from Dalma. We have started combing operations to hunt them out,” district superintendent of police Ashok Prasad said.

Around 50 guerrillas — in army fatigues and armed with rifles — entered Cheliama village, 300km from Calcutta, around 1.15am. They barged into the house of Kiriti Gorai, a CPM panchayat member, and beat him up with rifle butts, breaking both his hands.

“The Maoists kept telling me to leave the party,” Gorai said from his hospital bed.

The gang then raided the houses of three affluent farmers in the neighbouring Laldihi and Morapdihi villages and took away their guns.

The stolen weapons in their hands, it was time to turn to the main target. The rebels divided into small groups and started looking for CPM local committee member Bhagirath Karmakar.

Around 2.15am, some of them stormed into the cluster of huts in Morapdihi village, where the 53-year-old lived with his wife, three sons and three brothers. The Maoists first broke into the house of Bhagirath’s son Dilip.

“They asked me in Bengali where my father was. When I told them I didn’t know, they hit me behind my ears with a rifle butt and I started bleeding and collapsed to the ground. I was so scared that I pointed to my father’s hut,” Dilip said.

When the gang arrived at his door, Bhagirath tried to cut open a hole in the roof and escape. But the rebels caught him before he could get away.

They dragged him to a field at the edge of the village. “I shouted for help but no one came forward to save my husband,” his wife Sindhubala sobbed.

Police said Bhagirath was beaten up and then shot in the chest.

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