Violence continued in the Lalgarh area of West Bengal’s Paschim Medinipur district when four security personnel were injured in a landmine blast allegedly triggered by Maoists at Andharia late on Monday night.
Activists of the Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee (PSBJC) also ransacked and torched the houses of two Communist Party of India (Marxist) leaders earlier in the evening.
According to police, a large group of PSBJC supporters and several armed Maoists attacked the house of Amiyo Sengupta, a member of the CPI(M)’s district committee, at Dahijuri.
Though Mr. Sengupta was not at home at the time, his wife, three daughters and grand-daughter were present. The mob ransacked the house and later set it on fire.
Unable to get out of the house, the women took refuge on the roof of the three-storied-building to escape the fire raging on the ground floor.
The police said the mob also attacked the neighbouring house of local CPI(M) leader Avijit Singha and torched it. The family, however, managed to flee.
A contingent of security force personnel was dispatched from the Binpur thana on receiving news of the attack.
The Maoists, however, had set up a booby trap on the way to Dahijuri from Binpur by planting a directional improvised explosive device on the way. It was set off while the security forces were approaching the spot, injuring four personnel including the inspector-in-charge of the thana, the police said.
Another contingent of forces was also dispatched from Jhargram, along with a fire-tending machine, but could not reach the spot fearing the presence of more landmines on the way. The women in Mr. Sengupta’s house had to spend the entire night on the terrace crying for help. The forces finally reached the spot early on Tuesday.
Maoist Polit Bureau member Koteswar Rao alias Kishanji justified the attacks, saying they were “spontaneous outbursts of people who have been refused their rights and freedom for years and are continuously subjected to atrocities by the security forces.”
Speaking to The Hindu over telephone from an undisclosed location on Tuesday, Kishanji added that the violent incidents taking place in and around Jhargram for the past two weeks was “the beginning of realising a long-term goal to turn Jhargram into a liberated zone.”