Maoists kill tribal leader in Lalgarh

Kolkata, Nov 29 ( In escalating Maoist violence in West Bengal’s Lalgarh belt, a tribal leader was found murdered in West Midnapore district Sunday. Meanwhile, gunbattles broke out between the joint security forces and Maoist rebels in several areas in and around Lalgarh in the morning.

The death takes to seven the number of people killed in Lalgarh since Friday. While six of them were killed by the Maoists, one Maoist supporter died during an exchange of fire with the security forces.

The body of Dhanapati Murmu, a member of the Jharkhand Party (Aditya), was found lying on the road near the Labkush jungle Sunday morning. He had been abducted by suspected Maoists Sunday night from his village in Ramgarh.

The Jharkhand Party (Aditya) blamed the Maoists for the murder. “He was a respected leader of the party. And there was no rivalry between him and any other leader. This is another heinous crime committed by the Maoists,” said a JKP-A leader.

Meanwhile, the Maoist-backed People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) is observing a ‘black day’ against the death of its supporter Aswini Mahato, who was killed Friday during a firefight with the joint security forces.

The state government began a massive security operation against the leftwing extremists in and around Lalgarh – about 200 km West of Kolkata – June 18.

The ultras had virtually created a free zone in the area since November 2008 by torching police camps and burning down offices of the state’s ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist.

The Maoists are active in areas under 30 police stations in three western districts – West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia – of the state.