Four CPI(M) supporters, including two local leaders, were shot dead by suspected Maoists in two separate incidents in the Lalgarh region since Wednesday night.

A forest beat office on the periphery of the Jhitka forest was ransacked and torched. Forest department employees were beaten up by the Maoists.

District Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar Verma told The Hindu over telephone on Thursday that a group of armed men abducted Brihaspati Mahato, Manik Mahato and Bijoy Mahato from their houses in the Sevayatan locality of Jhargram town on Wednesday night.

“The bullet-riddled bodies of the three were found on Thursday morning. Several Maoist posters, scattered around the bodies, claimed that the three were involved in espionage on behalf of the police,” Mr. Verma said. The posters appealed to strengthen the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) movement and demanded the immediate withdrawal of security forces from the region.

All the three had officially left the CPI(M) few months ago after receiving threats from the Maoists.

Another local CPI(M) leader Rabi Mahato was abducted late on Wednesday and later found shot dead by suspected Maoists at Salgeria in the Salboni sub-division, adjacent to Lalgarh.

The killings have coincided with the Maoists observing the PLGA Week from December 2 to 8.

There have also been incidents of ransacking of houses of CPI(M) supporters and putting up of blockades at several places.

Meanwhile, there were reports that supporters of the Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee heckled the principal of a primary school at Baita near Lalgarh on Thursday and paraded him in the village with a garland of shoes.

Mr. Verma, however, denied having knowledge of any such incident.