Raktima Bose

KOLKATA: Suspected Maoists gunned down two local leaders of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in the Bandwan region of West Bengal’s Purulia district late on Sunday.

Superintendent of Police (Purulia) Rajesh Kumar Yadav told The Hindu over telephone on Monday that the victims, Karali Mahato and Baneshwar Mahato, were shot dead close to their homes in Dulukti village.

Several Maoist posters were found on the spot, in which the extremists claimed responsibility for the twin murders, accusing the victims of being police informers, Mr. Yadav said.

“Though the role of Maoists is apparent, we are investigating the case,” he added.

Purulia is one of the three districts most affected by Maoist violence and has witnessed several such killings in the past. Its long and somewhat unsecure border with neighbouring Jharkhand has turned it into a passage for the Maoists between the two States.

The killings come four days ahead of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s scheduled visit to the district to supervise the preparedness of the security personnel for the anti-Maoist ‘Operation Green Hunt’ which will be launched soon.

Police sources said that contrary to the initial belief that the Silda camp attackers had come from across the State’s border and had fled to the same, subsequent investigations have revealed that the attack was staged by local Maoist squads which were coordinated by Maoist Polit Bureau leader Kishanji.

“We have specific information about the identity of most of the attackers. Two days prior to the attack, they had assembled at the Shakhabhanga village on the West Bengal-Jharkhand border for the final planning. Operations are under way to nab them as quickly as possible,” a senior police official said.

Poor infrastructure

The lack of well-trained personnel and outposts, and camps with insufficient security cover and infrastructure are dogging the Police Department with a section of the personnel voicing dissatisfaction over the issue.

“Most of the police stations in the region are under-staffed and the policemen posted there are past their prime and are neither trained nor equipped to take on guerrilla fighters like the Maoists,” the senior official said.