Maoist shot dead in Bengal

While the dead has been identified as Gurupada Mahato, rebels are believed to have taken away the injured, the police said. The rebels who gave a 48- hour ultimatum to the state authorities for a swap of prisoners — six of their cadres in exchange of the teacher, a CPM local committee member — stuck to their demand even as state Home Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty maintained that bargaining with the Maoists was not on the government’s agenda.

Chakraborty even denied having received any swap demand from the rebels for the release of the abducted schoolteacher. “We have not received any information on the conditions laid down from their side. Administration cannot work on bargaining. This is no solution — to capture harmless and innocent and put forth your demands,” Chakraborty said here.

A group of armed Maoists abducted Ranjit Duley, a schoolteacher, in Bankura district on Friday and threatened to kill him if the authorities failed to release six villagers arrested after police officer Rabi Lochan Mitra’s murder.

Rebels had last year succeeded in securing the release of 18 villagers in exchange of an officer in charge who was abducted at gun point.

Meanwhile, sleuths quizzing top rebel leader Venkatesh Reddy alias Deepak and rebel thinktank Kobad Gandhi, have stumbled upon a stunning fact that trainers from the Philippines had sneaked into India last year to impart state-of-the-art training to the rebels in the guerilla warfare. Deepak’s revelationhas thrown a significant light on the Maoists’ secret operation in West Bengal.

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