Oct. 11: Two days after security forces gunned down two Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) militants at Kumargram, the militants struck back by shooting dead a CPM youth leader at a crowded weekly market near Alipurduar in Jalpaiguri this evening.
Police and witnesses said a group of five militants armed with automatic weapons pedalled into the haat on cycles at Banchukhamari, 3 km from Alipurduar, around 6.30 pm. The market was teeming with last-minute Puja shoppers at the time .
Witnesses said the militants stopped in front of a paan shop owned by Shib Charan Thakur, local unit secretary of the Democratic Youth Federation of India, and opened fire. Thakur, 28, was hit in the chest and neck. He was declared dead when taken to Alipurduar Hospital.
As crowds of shoppers screamed and ran for cover, the militants blazed away, wounding eight.
CPM’s Alipurduar zonal secretary Robin Dasgupta said the KLO was selectively targeting the party workers. “They are trying to terrorise the people as they have no local support.”
This is the second time that the KLO has attacked CPM workers in the past two months. The militants had stormed the CPM office in Dhupguri on August 17 and gunned down five partymen.
On Wednesday, the security forces had gunned down two members of the KLO action squad at Pukhurigram village under Kumargram police station.
“They first showered the DYFI leader with abuse and then with bullets,’’ a witness said. Under cover of bullets, the militants fled. Police suspect they might have escaped into the Buxa tiger reserve.
Though the Alipurduar police station was 3 km away from the market, policemen reached the site nearly two hours after the murder.