HOMELAND SECURITY: Maoists in disguise kill leader tied to EFR shift – vipers in a pit of Bengal’s making ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Midnapore, Sept. 20: Suspected Maoists masquerading as students today shot dead a Shilda CPM leader who had played a key role in shifting the Eastern Frontier Rifles camp, where the rebels massacred 24 jawans in February, near the party office.
They also shot his bodyguard who has been admitted to a Jhargram hospital.
Ananta Mukherjee, 35, was working in his office at Radhacharan High School where he was a clerk when three teenaged youths approached him around 1pm, police said.
Mukherjee’s office was in a mud-walled house on the school compound, 700 metres from the CPM party office. The police said two eyewitnesses, a teacher and a Class XII student, had told them the attackers, who looked about 18 or 19, were wearing the school uniform — white shirt and navy blue trousers.
Two of the youths went inside while the other stood outside. The duo told Mukherjee they wanted to deposit the school fees. “He asked them to wait and walked towards the almirah in which the fee records were kept,” a police officer said.
“The teacher, who was passing by, and the student, who was standing on the first-floor balcony of the school building, have told us that Mukherjee’s bodyguard Amarendra Mondal was sitting outside the CPM zonal committee member’s office. Mondal suspected something was wrong and tried to enter the office. But the youth waiting outside shot him in the abdomen,” the police officer said.
The student who witnessed the attack said: “I saw Ananta sir running out of the room, chased by the three youths who repeatedly fired at him. Sir was looking for a shelter but most of the classrooms had been locked by the students and teachers who got scared after hearing the gunshots.”
As Mukherjee, who was riddled with bullets in the chest, waist and shoulders, lay in a pool of blood, the three youths walked out of the school compound and rode away in bikes with three accomplices waiting outside, said an officer of Binpur police station, 10km away.
Superintendent of police Praveen Tripathi said Mukherjee had been allotted two bodyguards but one of them did not report for work today. “We are investigating why he was absent,” Tripathi said.
Mukherjee and other CPM leaders had allegedly compelled the police to shift the EFR camp from a well-fortified plot inside the compound of an irrigation department office on the outskirts of Shilda to a place near the party office in the heart of the town to protect them from Maoist attacks.
However, after the EFR themselves fell victims to the Maoists in February, the camp was disbanded. A State Armed Police camp was set up there instead, whose personnel arrived half an hour after today’s shooting.
After Mukherjee’s murder, a mob ransacked the school building and set fire to the scooter of the teacher in charge.
The CPM will tomorrow hold a rally in West Midnapore’s Enayatpur where the first cadre camp was set up a year ago. Minister for Paschimanchal development affairs Susanta Ghosh and district CPM secretary Dipak Sarkar will take part in the rally.