Monday, February 01, 2010

8 cops injured in Maoist attack

Statesman News Service
PURULIA/KOLKATA, 31 JAN : At least eight policemen including an ASP, DSP (headquarters) and officer in-charge of Bandwan police station were injured in an attack by suspected Maoists in Kumra village in Purulia today. Three ultra-left extremists and a villager also sustained bullet injuries during the retaliatory raid conducted by the joint forces.
Acting on a tip off that several top Maoist leaders have assembled at Kumra village near Bandwan to attend a meeting organised by the leaders of Peoples’ Committee against Police Atrocities and members of Sidhu Kanu Gana Militia, a police team led by Mr C Sudhakar, ASP and Mr Tanmoy Sarkar DSP (headquarters) Purulia, raided the village to arrest the Maoist leaders. The Maoists had been mobilising in the area for the last seven days. “We had specific information that there were some top Maoist leaders, including those involved in recent killings, were at the rally,” said Purulia, SP, Mr Rajesh Yadav. Around 11.30 a.m., when the police team was returning after arresting three suspected Maoist leaders after their raid, a gang of 25 Maoists and members of Gana Militia Committee attacked them. Soon, the villagers and the PCPA leaders joined the Maoists to prevent the police from entering into their villages.
The policemen were attacked with axes and machetes. Police lathicharged the mob and were answered with a volley of arrows and bricks. Someone swung an axe on the ASP, a 33-year-old IPS officer. His bodyguard got in the way and took the blow on his body.
In no time, the 450-strong crowd at the rally joined the fight. Mr Sudhakar collapsed on the ground with head and face injuries. The DSP’s right hand was fractured while the Bandwan OC suffered multiple injuries. Five constables had arrows pierced in their heads and legs. Two villagers have reportedly received bullet wounds. Outnumbered, police fired in the air to disperse the mob, said an officer. The Maoists then started shooting from the jungles. A PCPA member accused police of shooting at the villagers, but police denied this. “How could we shoot at them when the Maoists threw children and women in front,” said an officer. As the gunfight raged on, reinforcements rushed from Purulia to rescue the team. Twenty-four villagers were arrested for the violence, said Mr Yadav. The injured were taken to Bandwan health centre and then moved to Purulia sadar hospital. Dr Amabasu Das, CMOH, Purulia said six policemen and two villagers had been admitted to hospital. However, the PCPA leaders blamed the police for the violence. “They raided the village and barged into homes. Villagers were beaten up. Even women and children were not spared. So long as the police atrocities continue, we will fight back,” said Mr Ajit Manki, convenor of the Purulia unit of PCPA

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