Many killed in CPM-Maoists clash

150 armed CPM men holed up in party office, claims Maoist leader

A villager dries paddy while an armed battalion of policemen patrol in Enaitpur, near Lalgarh village, 130 km west of Kolkata on Tuesday, after an overnight gun battle. AFP

With the Maoists blocking the entry of the security forces into the embattled region by felling trees and digging up trenches at strategic places, the police have so far no clue to the exact number of the activists killed and injured in the duel, sources said here on Tuesday.

Even as the local Maoist leader Kishanji claimed to have gunned down as many as ten CPM supporters in the area, the police took pains to throw a veil around the armed encounter and the subsequent killings.

“I can’t comment anything on that(encounter) now as we are investigating into the matter,” state Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Surajit Kar Purokayastha said. However, the point remains that if police had to confirm deaths, it would establish the fact that besides the Maoists, even the CPM cadres had stockpiled sophisticated weapons to take on the radicals.

“We have surrounded the CPM office in Manidaha in which about 150 armed CPM men are holed up. If the men do not surrender their weapons, we will blow up the party office,” Kishenji said.

The trouble began after two village women, while returning home from a nearby market near Palashi village at Enayatpur area, were attacked by a group of CPM cadres and later killed.

The news of their death spread like wildfire and thousands of irate villagers, accompanied by suspected Maoists, went on a rampage and started chasing the perpetrators who took shelter in the CPM’s Enayatpur local party office. The armed Maoists and villagers then surrounded the entire area and opened indiscriminate fire at the party office.

The armed CPM activists retaliated too and the gun-battle raged for hours. However, the Maoists were believed to have left the bodies of the dead in front of the CPM office before the arrival of the police.

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