|Bidyut Pandey (Samir Mondal)
Midnapore, Sept. 5: Maoists today shot at a relative of CPMs Binpur zonal committee secretary Anuj Pandey, renewing their efforts to regain ground days after the party wrested control of the Lalgarh pocket.
Bidyut Pandey, shot at four times as he was having lunch at his Bhairabkundu home, is critical and had to be shifted to Calcuttas NRS Hospital after initial treatment at the Midnapore Medical College Hospital.
The 52-year-old runs a grocery store and had not left the village like his elder brother Khagen and several other party members and supporters for fear of rebel attacks.
The Maoists had emerged from the Chuashole jungles behind Bidyuts home. Unlike in the past, the door of the house was open, suggesting the partys return had given him and other supporters a sense of security.
Anuj Pandey, who had led the partys recapture of nearby Dharampur, said: The Maoists have struck and injured one of my relatives at a time when our supporters had begun to return home in that area.
West Midnapore police chief Manoj Verma confirmed the Maoists hand in the attack. They shot at him four times. His condition is very serious. Police sources said the attack signalled the insurgents efforts to regain lost ground.
Bhairabkundu is 2km from Dherua and 10km from Dharampur, both recaptured by the CPM on Thursday. The party office was reopened at Dherua, and the CPMs red flag is fluttering all along the Dherua-Dharampur road. Bidyuts house is on the outskirts of the village on this road.
Bidyuts wife Bulu Rani said: Seven to eight people had come. They fired at my husband in front of my eyes.
Doctors at the Midnapore hospital took out three bullets but another is still stuck in his chest. Hospital superintendent Parthapratim Pradhan said: He has lost a lot of blood. We have referred him to NRS Hospital.
Manoj Mahato, secretary of the PCPA, was remanded in 14 days judicial custody by a Jhargram court today. Public prosecutor Suman Das Mahapatra said he was caught yesterday but Manojs family said he was picked up on Friday.