Maoists strike in Midnapore

Maoists strike in Midnapore

Rebel trouble: Four jawans fall to insurgents bullets

The rebels numbering more than 20, masquerading as villagers, suddenly opened fire on the EFR jawans who were on a routine patrol in the market around 7:30 pm. The jawans, who could not initially react for a few moments due to the darkness around, returned fire in the direction from which it came. But taking advantage of the darkness and entrenched positions, the rebels sprayed bullets on the jawans, killing four on the spot and injuring as many. Once the guns of the forces fell silent, the ultras quickly seized the automatic rilfes and ammunition of the felled and injured soldiers and fled towards the neighbouring Tulsiban forest, reports said.

A cycle shop owner, who was about to down the shutters, was caught in the cross fire and hit in the leg. All the injured have been rushed to the Jhargram hospital where the condition of the two was stated to be critical.

A massive reinforcement has been rushed to the spot and combing operation has been suspended owing to darkness.

The daring attack that shattered the fragile peace of the troubled Lalgarh region since the last month's raid at the Sakrail police station came barely hours after chief minister Buddhadev Bhattacherjee left for Kolkata following his two-day visit to the district to review the law and order.

Bhattacherjee, who arrived at Midnapore town on Saturday, held meetings with the top district and police brass on ways to strengthen anti-Maoist operations in the region.
Owning responsibility for the incident, Maoist chief spokesperson Koteswar Rao alias Kishenji said in a message: It's our reply to the chief minister's appeal for abjuring violence. We've already said the government would have to withdraw the joint forces from the region. Unless it’s done, we'll continue to give our reply."

These rebels, police believe, came from neighbouring Jharkhand as the Tulsiban forest also borders that state. This apart, the Maoists having changed their strategy, mounted the surprise attack on a patrol at a place that is not considered to be their stronghold. As a result, the presence of forces was not so adequate as to face a sudden a guerilla attack.

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