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Bike gang kills CPM leader in Nandigram - Masked men pump bullets into schoolteacher from point-blank range

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  • Published 6.08.08

Tamluk, Aug. 6: A CPM leader in Nandigram was shot dead from point-blank range at Kendamari when he was returning home this evening.

Niranjan Mondal, 55, a schoolteacher and secretary of the CPM local committee at Rajaramchowk, was on a bicycle when four masked men on two motorcycles intercepted him about 500 metres from his house and shot him.

He died on the spot.

The CPM has alleged that Niranjan’s murder was the handiwork of Maoists and the Trinamul Congress.

“It is typical of Maoists to target CPM leaders and finish them off. Now that the CRPF has left Nandigram, the Trinamul is providing the Maoists shelter,” said Ashok Guria, the East Midnapore secretariat member of the CPM.

Niranjan’s murder comes a day after a CPM local committee secretary in Sonachura, Joydeb Paik, was shot at.

Superintendent of police, S.S. Panda, was at Joydeb’s house in Sonachura when he was told of Niranjan’s murder. But it took him four hours to reach the spot, only 10km away, because Bhoomi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee activists had dug up the roads in five places.

Panda had to leave his jeep in Sonachura and he reached Kendamari, travelling part of the distance on a motorcycle and the rest on foot, at 8pm. “We are yet to establish the motive behind the killing. We are probing the Maoist angle,” he said.

Kendamari, which is Trinamul dominated, is not as violence-prone an area as Sonachura or Garchakraberia.

This was the second murder of a CPM member in Nandigram after the panchayat elections in May.

Eyewitnesses said when Niranjan was returning home around 4pm, cutting across a field on his cycle, two motorcycles sped towards him. They stopped near him and the miscreants shot Niranjan several times. “Niranjan babu slumped to the ground in a pool of blood,” said a villager.

Niranjan is survived by wife Amala, a former pradhan of the Kendamari gram panchayat, and three sons.

The police said the body was taken to Tamluk district hospital for post-mortem. Niranjan had bullet injuries in his head and abdomen.

The pratirodh committee has denied a hand in the murder. “Niranjan Mondal fell victim to an intra-party feud,” said Abu Taher, convener of the committee.

Subhendu Adhikary, the Trinamul MLA from Contai (south) said his party had nothing to do with the Maoists.

The CPM trained its guns on governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi, who had criticised the March 14 firing in Nandigram last year. “I want to know from the honourable governor when he will visit the homes of our slain and injured comrades in Nandigram,” said Shyamal Chakraborty of the CPM.

The party has called a 24-hour bandh tomorrow in Nandigram, Khejuri and Chandipur.

The pratirodh committee has also called a 12-hour bandh in Nandigram tomorrow.