Nov. 27: A member of a forest management group in Purulia, Jagadish Tiwary, was killed and six of his family injured when a mob attacked his home in Bansgara village late on Tuesday night.
The mob also looted and ransacked the house in Jhalda police station area. Among the items taken away were two guns, including a double-barrelled rifle.
The mob came from a village in the Bokaro area of neighbouring Jharkhand state, according to district magistrate D.P. Jana. “The assailants called themselves Maoist Communist Centre activists and threatened the villagers with death if police were informed.”
It was only when the injured, who include Tiwary’s four sons and a daughter, were admitted to hospital that the news reached the police.
Superintendent of police V.K. Goyal, additional superintendent of police Anil Kumar and other senior district officials have gone to the spot with a contingent of security forces.
DIG (headquarters) Narayan Ghosh said in Calcutta this evening that a joint team of Jharkhand and Bengal police would comb the Ara village area of Bokaro to trace the assailants.
Bengal director general of police Dinesh Vajpai had contacted his Jharkhand counterpart R.R. Prasad to facilitate a joint combing operation, sources said. Prasad has instructed the superintendent of police in Bokaro to extend all help to the Bengal policemen.
Tiwary (56), who owned land in Bansgara, was a member of the local joint forest management group set up to prevent timber smuggling, police sources said. There had been earlier attempts on Tiwary’s life because of his efforts to thwart illegal felling of trees.
The injured, who had been admitted to the government hospital at Kotshila, were later shifted to a hospital in Ranchi.
Senior forest officials said the killing would affect forestry management in the area.
“We will have to ask the police to strengthen patrolling in the forests so that the locals feel safe,” a senior forest officer said. Bengal’s joint forestry management efforts had earned it the prestigious John Paul Getty Award for environmental excellence in 1994.
District officials said it was unlikely that the assailants were MCC activists. “Activists usually do not declare their allegiances when carrying out raids,” said Jana. Further details on the incident are awaited, but the situation is said to be “under control”.
However, Bansgara village was plastered with posters claiming that the attack was carried out by MCC activists, according to Jhalda police station personnel. The posters also had a list of demands of the Naxalite outfit.