Dangardiha (Belpahari), March 9: Maoists have displayed their ability to strike at will in an area that is fast becoming Bengal’s guerrilla belt by picking out CPM sympathisers for execution for the third time in less than a week.
The extremists last night hacked two persons to death, accusing them of tipping off police about two women activists who were arrested from a nearby village after an encounter last month.
The guerrillas also beat up another man in this tribal hamlet in Belpahari forest area of West Midnapore, 250 km from Calcutta.
The village falls in the same area where the Maoists have launched a campaign to thwart a public relations drive by police. On February 26, the Naxalites had killed four people by blowing up a vehicle returning from one such programme. The blast site is 40 km from the village that was targeted last night.
The two dead have been identified as Gumai Tudu, 36, and Jaladhar Mahato, 40, both farmers. Satyanath Soren, 42, another farmer, was assaulted with rifle butts, sticks, and wooden handles of tangis (hatchets) after the Maoists held a kangaroo court.
CPM leaders said Gumai was a Jharkhand Party supporter who recently became a Left sympathiser. “Jaladhar and Satyanath are active workers of the CPM,” said Amiya Sengupta, CPM’s zonal committee secretary.
Before leaving the village, the group of about 30 Maoist guerrillas, including half-a-dozen women, threatened villagers with similar action if they “hobnobbed with the police”. The two women Maoists, Sulekha Mahato and Bimala Sardar, were caught from a village two-and-a-half km from here.
The guerrillas posed as policemen to lure Gumai from a neighbour’s house. Gumai and Jaladhar were dragged to a football ground the police were building for the village.
The Maoists accused Gumai and Jaladhar of being in touch with the police before beginning to hack them in full view of Jaladhar’s family and Gumai’s nephew.
“Were you sleeping when the police picked up two of our comrades' It is you people who informed the police on that day. We will not let anybody live in peace so long as Sulekha and Bimala are in jail,” a Maoist woman warned them.
The police said the guerrillas of two Maoist leaders, Madan Mahato and Jagari Baskey, had grouped together to carry out the operation.
“The Maoists are trying to disrupt our attempt to build public relations with the villagers in areas where they are active. However, it is not possible for us to solve this problem overnight,” said Ajay Nand, the West Midnapore superintendent of police.