Suspected Maoists gunned down a Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader near Lalgarh in West Bengal's Paschim Medinipur district late on Tuesday, even as the police arrested 11 suspected Maoists, including a key leader of the militant wing of the Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee, in the Goaltore region during several raids since late on Monday.
On Wednesday, a city court remanded top Maoist leader Venkatesh Reddy alias Deepak to police custody till March 31. He was arrested here on March 2.
After he was in police custody for two weeks, the court remanded Mr. Reddy on a plea by counsel for the Criminal Investigation Department that he needed to be investigated further about his close association with Kishanji and other Maoist leaders.
Tapan Dolui was called out of his home in Dhedua village and shot dead a little distance away, said Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar Verma. The needle of suspicion pointed to Maoists. An active Marxist leader, Mr. Dolui was a member of the village panchayat. He fled the village last year when the Maoists stepped up violence against CPI(M) supporters, and returned home on Monday.
“The security forces arrested Nanigopal Goswami, an important leader of the Sidhu Kanu Gana Militia, the militant wing of the PSBJC, and 10 others during daylong raids on several hideouts in the Goaltore region since Monday night following specific inputs,” Mr. Verma told The Hindu on telephone.
He said more than 15 cases of murder, abduction and extortion were registered against Mr. Goswami in several police stations in the district. Several firearms were recovered from him.
Mr. Goswami was tasked with mobilising public opinion in support of Maoists and recruiting and training local youths in the Goaltore region, whose location is strategicbecause of its proximity to the inter-district border with Bankura. “Out of the 10 other persons arrested, six are confirmed to be active Maoist squad members, while the rest are PSBJC supporters.”
Sidhu Soren, commander of the Gana Militia and de-facto leader of the PSBJC after the death of the outfit's president Lalmohan Tudu earlier this month, alleged that security forces were harassing innocent people in the name of joint operations and threatened that the outfit would strike back in the wake of the arrest of several of its supporters.