Claiming that firearms and money was the main motive behind the attacks on the police station and a branch of the State Bank of India at Sankrail in West Bengal’s Paschim Medinipur district on Tuesday, Polit Bureau member of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), Koteswar Rao alias Kishenji warned of more such attacks in the future unless paramilitary forces were withdrawn from the region.

Speaking to The Hindu over telephone from his hideout in the Lalgarh area on Tuesday, Kishenji said: “We need continuous supply of firearms and money to arm the local militia and for their expenses. The police and the government money are our main sources for these things in the absence of erstwhile socialist countries like Russia, China and Vietnam.”

Warning top police officials, including the State Director-General of police, against visiting the attack site, he claimed that the entire area was planted with landmines and said the State government will be responsible for further deaths of police officials if the warning is not heeded.

“Our party is not in favour of killing the Director-General as of now. So we will suggest him to stay off from the area,” Kishanji said.

Regarding the two police officials who were killed by the Maoists, he said the squad members had “no alternative but to shoot at them when the police officials fired at them.”

“We appeal to the police not to confront us and to hand over their weapons to us to save their lives. Even the abducted officer will be released once the paramilitary forces withdraw from the region,” Kishenji said.

The Maoists announced an indefinite blockade in the forested region of the district on Tuesday in protest against the Centre’s and the State government’s decision to launch renewed offensive against the Maoists in the Lalgarh region, as well as the arrest of several tribal women over the past five months for their alleged Maoist links.

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