Kolkata, May 4 The CPM leadership in Purulia is on Naxal target list again. Today, suspected Maoists gunned down prominent district committee member Ganapati Bhadra at Bomragara village.
While Bhadra died on the spot, the condition of his companion and local CPM leader Rampada Mandi, who was shot in the stomach, is serious, district police sources said.
Purulia will go to polls on May 11 in the first phase of the three-tier panchayat elections. Local CPM sources attributed the attack to pre-poll violence. Bandwan zonal committee general secretary and local legislator Bhawani Hasda said the incident took place in a deserted road.
“Only Mandi can say exactly what happened. We are under attack here,” said Hasda.
Bhadra (45) was the cousin of Bandwan CPM leader Rabindranath Kar, who alongwith his wife, was shot dead by Naxalites on New Year's Day in 2006. After killing Kar, Naxals had used landmines to blow up the nearby Kuchia police camp.
Police sources said Bhadra was riding a motorcycle with Mandi on the pillion and was on his way home, when two other bikes bearing four persons began chasing them.
“One of the bikes overtook him and blocked its progress around 12 km from Bandwan police station. After confirming that it was indeed Bhadra on the bike, they opened fire from point blank range. Bhadra was shot thrice and succumbed to his injuries.”
Bandwan district committee members told The Indian Express over phone that Maoists had beaten up several party cadres in Bandwan a few days ago. “They (Maoists) had put up posters asking people to abstain from voting during panchayat elections and warned the CPM against contesting the polls,” said one of them.
Police sources added that senior officers including Purulia SP Ashok Prasad had rushed to the spot and were conducting an investigation into the killing. Prasad could not be reached for comment, as Bomragara is yet to be covered by a mobile network.
According to police estimates, there are over 50 villages in Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore under Naxal control. Local CPM leaders and police avoid visiting these areas, sources said.