Around 10 Communist Party of India (Marxist) supporters were feared killed by Maoists in the Lalgarh region of West Bengal’s Paschim Medinipur district during a fierce exchange of gunfire between the rebels and the CPI(M) supporters late on Monday.

According to local sources, thousands of supporters of the Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi Janashadharaner Committee (PSBJC) led by armed Maoists laid siege to the CPI(M) office in Inayatpur, about 10 km from Midnapore town, and opened fire at the occupants of the office.

Several CPI(M) cadres have been camping at the office for the past few months. They retaliated on being attacked, and a heavy gun battle ensued. Maoist leaders as well as the CPI(M) district secretary Dipak Sarkar were not unavailable for comment. The official casualty figure is not known.

Gun battle was raging late into the night. Director-General of Police Bhupinder Singh told The Hindu that a huge contingent of security