A Maoist poster asking villagers to observe the bandh. Picture by Amit Biswas
Poragachha (Nadia), Feb. 28: A CPM leader was shot dead in Nadia, hours after suspected Maoists burnt down his party colleague’s house 80km away to avenge the arrest of state chief Somen.
Amanul Haque Biswas’s son alleged that the killers were Maoists, saying villagers had heard them shout slogans.
But police said they could not confirm the claim yet. “It’s too early to say. Our officers have gone to the spot to investigate,” Nadia police superintendent H.K. Kusumakar said.
Amanul’s son Mamud Hasan was indoors when the 58-year-old local CPM committee leader was gunned down outside his house in Nadia’s Karimpur this evening.
“Villagers later told me the assailants had said that they were Maoists and had come to teach my father a lesson,” Mamud said.
A gang of around 10 marched to Amanul’s house at 7pm, the police said. “He was sitting outside, speaking to some local people. They surrounded Amanul and fired twice from a revolver at point-blank range. The bullets hit him below his right ear. When he slumped to the ground, one of them pulled out a sickle and hacked him to make sure he was dead,” an officer of Karimpur police station said.
In Poragachha village in the same district, the Maoists are believed to have carried out their first revenge strike since Somen landed in the CID net on Saturday.
A group set fire to the house of Narayan Roy Biswas, a member of the CPM’s Krishnagar (west) local committee, last night. Biswas, however, escaped as he spent the night in Krishnagar town.
The rebels left behind leaflets and pasted posters on the walls of the charred house. “If Somen is not set free, many houses in Bengal will burn like this,” they warned.
Some posters told villagers to observe the 24-hour bandh the Maoists had called in Nadia and Murshidabad today “to protest the arrest of our leader Somen”.
Biswas, 45, is thanking his lucky stars. “Had I stayed back, I would have been burnt alive. The Maoists knew that I often stay in my ancestral home alone,” he said.
Suspected Maoists torched a CPM branch office at Chandpur village, 5km from Biswas’s house, around 11 tonight. Pamphlets, demanding Somen’s release and warning of more strikes, were strewn around the office.