Maoists massacre 7 Forward Bloc members

All seven were dragged out of their homes at 2 am on Thursday and taken to a nearby field at gun-point before being shot from close range in the hilly Baghbinda village in Jhalda bordering Jharkhand, police said.

State police and Central Reserve Police Force personnel who rushed to the area close to Ayodhya Hills, started a combing operation. The modus operandi of the crime points to suspicion towards the Maoists who have a base in the hills. Some Maoist posters recovered from the spot reveals that five of the victims had indulged in spying for cops.

Forward Bloc state secretary Ashok Ghosh who condemned the incident, claimed that Chapala Garai, one of the victims, was the Darda gram panchayat pradhan. He blamed the police for not acting in time when the attack took place. Three Bloc activists, including a leader, were shot dead by the guerrillas in the Bagmundi area on October 4 last.

Meanwhile, in a “prize catch,” two dreaded Maoists, involved in the attack on the Sakrail police station, were arrested in the Salboni forest area in this district on Friday. But the combined forces suffered a setback when another key Maoist leader Jayanta Mahato managed to give them a slip along with his followers after nearly a two-hour-long gun battle in the forested parts of Jharagram in West Midnapore on Friday.

However, police recovered a huge cache of arms and ammunition from the site of the battle.

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