A supporter of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) was murdered by suspected Maoists in the Lalgarh region of West Bengal on Sunday. With this, the number of those killed by the Maoists over the past weekend rose to five.

Several Maoist leaflets demanding punishment in ‘people’s court’ for those allegedly responsible for the massacre at Chhoto Angaria in Paschim Medinipur district on January 4, 2001 were found on Monday on the Midnapore-Lalgarh road.

The victim, Bapi Bakhli, was an active CPI(M) supporter till six months ago when he dissociated himself from the party in the face of Maoist threat.

He was abducted from his shop at the Pirakata market on Sunday evening. His bullet-riddled body was found a few metres away early on Monday.

Ironically, the Pirakata police outpost, where several companies of the Central forces were camping, is a stone’s throw away from the site where the body was found.

According to district Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar Verma, Maoist leaflets accusing Mr. Bakhli of being a police informer were found at the spot.

“Prima facie the murder was the handiwork of Maoists; yet we are probing all angles,” Mr. Verma said over telephone.

The Left-wing militants gunned down four persons in three separate incidents late on Saturday, few hours after three supporters of the Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee (PSBJC) were killed by security forces during a combing operation.

While Anath Singh and Hiteswar Singh were killed in the Belpahari region, Jhantu Patra was shot dead at Bamal village near Lalgarh, and Sankar Ray was gunned down at Burishol near Ramgarh.

The Maoists claimed responsibility for the killings. They said the four were killed due to their political affiliation and for spying for the police.

Bandh call

Meanwhile, the PSBJC has called a 48-hour bandh from Monday in the Binpur and Jhargram blocks in protest against the killing of three of its supporters, allegedly by the security forces.