Pandabeswar (Burdwan), Jan. 8: A Naxalite leader was shot dead at a crowded village market near here this evening by unknown miscreants, who fired and injured two police officials before fleeing.
Four persons have been arrested and a large contingent of armed police has been sent to the spot to prevent a backlash.
Witnesses at Kendra village said Ganesh Pal, 50, a state committee member of the CPI(M-L)ís C.P. Reddy faction, was sitting at a tea stall when five or six men surrounded him and pumped in bullets, killing him on the spot.
The attackers hurled bombs and set surrounding houses on fire while fleeing. Five fire tenders were pressed into service to douse the flames.
Officials of Pandabeswer police station, who launched a manhunt for the killers, were attacked when they raided the residence of CPM supporter-brothers Surji and Milan Pal, who eyewitnesses said were involved in the incident.
CPI(M-L) activists alleged the CPM was trying to scare them before the panchayat polls.