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Updated: October 20, 2009 02:07 IST

One killed in Lalgarh; CID continues questioning Mahato

Raktima Bose
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File Photo of Chatradhar Mahato, leader of the Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi Janashadharaner Committee. Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury
The Hindu File Photo of Chatradhar Mahato, leader of the Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi Janashadharaner Committee. Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

One person was hacked to death by unidentified assailants, suspected to be Maoists, near Lalgarh in West Bengal’s Paschim Medinipur district late on Sunday.

The victim, Sheetal Hembram, reportedly witnessed the murder of a member of the Jharkhand Party (Naren) two months back and the police suspects that Mr. Hembram was killed since he might have identified the assailants.

The district’s police superintendent, Manoj Kumar Verma, told The Hindu over telephone on Monday: “Investigation has been initiated. Though prima facie it appears to be a Maoist killing, we are also not ruling out a political angle.”

Mr. Verma said that suspected Maoist, Lakshiram Soren, was arrested from a forested area of Garbeta but refused to divulge further details.

Sporadic violence

Isolated incidents of violence continue to disrupt normal life in Lalgarh and the neighbouring areas though the frequency of such occurrences have come down substantially since the arrest of Chhatradhar Mahato, convener of the Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee (PSBJC) on September 26.

A local leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Satya Ruidas, who was abducted by the Maoists on October 13 remained untraced. There were also incidents of houses of CPI(M) supporters being ransacked and gutted by groups of suspected Maoists.

Two social activists, Raja Sarkhel and Prasun Chatterjee, who were arrested by the CID on the basis of information extracted from Mr. Mahato and charged with the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act(UAPA) for their alleged involvement in funding the Maoists, were produced in court and were remanded to 14 days of judicial custody.

Meanwhile, two teams of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) have started grilling Mr. Mahato after a court in Jhargram sent him to four-day-police custody on October 18 in connection with a murder case.

‘Court not satisfied’

The police remand was granted, however, not before the additional chief judicial magistrate observed that the court was “not satisfied with the police procedure of investigation”. The court granted the four-day-remand against the 14-days-remand petitioned by the public prosecutor.

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