Midnapore, June 29: Maoists abducted a 16-year-old boy on his way to school, shot him dead and branded him a police informer in West Midnapores Belpahari, an apparent act of desperation after being hit by police several times in the past few weeks.
Class X student Fulchand Mahato was found with bullets in his head and chest near a waterfall in the mountainous Kashmar village, about 2km from his home.
He was missing since leaving for school — 10km away — on a cycle yesterday.
This is the first instance of the rebels killing a schoolboy in Bengal. The brutality shows how badly cornered and desperate the Maoists are, said Jhargram superintendent of police Praveen Tripathi.
The Maoists are now doing things they earlier did not (see chart). A string of arrests since the May 28 Jnaneswari tragedy that killed 150 people, encounter deaths of at least nine guerrillas and a series of close shaves have apparently made the rebels resort to tactics that suggest a panic reaction.
They burnt alive the 80-year-old mother and 55-year-old sister of a CPM leader in Bankura last Wednesday. They have snatched phones from villagers suspecting moles among them.
A poster on a tree today announced that Fulchand was lying dead near the waterfall.
A joint force team traced the body. A poster left near it said he had been given the death penalty for being a police informer.
His mother waited till last evening but he did not return home. Then she contacted Fulchands father through a relative, said a neighbour at Jamirdiha, 275km from Calcutta
His father Srinath has been living away from home out of fear because he is a CPM supporter. Fulchands uncle had been shot dead by the Maoists in February 2008.
The Mahatos are traditionally CPM supporters, the neighbour said. But why should a 16-year-old become a target for his familys political allegiance? That the Maoists know.
To escape their wrath, Fulchands elder brother Madhu had last year become a supporter of the Peoples Committee Against Police Atrocities. He quit the outfit a few months later and fled home with his father, an officer said.
Madhu now lives in Purulias Bandwan, 50km from home, and Srinath with relatives elsewhere in Belpahari.
Fulchand stayed with his mother Rinku.
Srinath was at the police station today when the joint force team called up to say they had found the body. The father fainted, an officer said.
When he regained consciousness, Srinath said he should have stayed at home. Then they would have killed me but spared Fulchand.