Bankura/Purulia, July 10: The Maoists who gunned down two CPM leaders in a Bankura village last evening left behind a booby trap that killed an investigating officer four hours later.
Prabal Sengupta, officer in charge of Barikul police station 5 km away, drove into Majhgeria around 11 pm with 16 of his men. As he looked around the house of Raghunath Murmu, one of the victims, the middle-aged officer’s attention was caught by a black leather-and-canvas bag.
As soon as Sengupta picked it up and unzipped it, the bag blew up in his face, killing him instantly and wounding all the other 16 policemen. The second officer of the police station, Sandipan Chatterjee, was battling for life tonight with his legs riddled with shrapnel.
“It doesn’t seem like the bag was meant for the police. It was Sengupta’s bad luck that he tried to open it. The fragments of the bag will be sent for a forensic examination,” an official said.
Sengupta is the second OC killed by Maoists in Bengal in the past two years. On October 11, 2003, Bandwan OC Nilmadhab Das died in a gunbattle.
Bankura superintendent of police K. Jayaraman rushed to Majhgeria with a huge force of police and paramilitary personnel, including jawans of Eastern Frontier Rifles and the BSF. “We have issued a red alert in the district and are carrying out massive raids,” he said.
From Calcutta, director-general of police S.C. Avasthy and CID director-general (operations) Rajiv Kumar left for Bankura.
Around 7 pm yesterday, the Maoists shot dead Raghunath, 40, at his residence-cum-dispensary along with Bablu Mudi, 35, probably with AK-47 rifles. Another CPM leader, Sanjay Mudi, was injured.
Within an hour, at Dulukdihi in Purulia’s Bandwan area, 20 km from Majhgeria, some 15-16 guerrillas in army fatigues shot Mahendra Mahato with 9 mm pistols. The Naxalites included three women and spoke Bengali and Hindi.
Both sites are near the Jharkhand border, which has been sealed.
The CPM observed a 12-hour bandh in Bandwan and has called another in Bankura’s Khatra subdivision tomorrow. Party state secretary Anil Biswas said a statewide protest day will be observed across Bengal tomorrow.