JHARGRAM: Suspected Maoists on Sunday fired at a Trinamool Congress rally in Jhargram’s Masangdihi village and injured one party worker. The rally was taken out to mobilze support for MP Subhendu Adhikary’s November 12 rally near Jhargram. A motorbike, few Maoist posters, a pistol and four IEDs were found at the forest nearby during the combing operation following the attack, said police.
On Sunday morning, nearly 50 Trinamool workers and supporters took out public rallies on motorbikes at different Jhargram villages from Aguiboni to Birihandi, considered Maoist strongholds, campaigning for Adhikary’s rally. Nisith Mahato, a Trinamool leader from Jamboni block, was leading this campaign. Mahato is also a key leader of the anti-Maoist forum – Janajagaran Mancha – believed to be backed by the party.
The incident took place when the Trinamool brigade reached Masangdihi shortly before noon. They were holding a street-corner meeting for convincing people to join Adhikary’s rally when bullets rained on them from the neighbouring forest.
“A bullet hit the left rib cage of Rupchand Soren, a resident of nearby Gira village,” Nisith said.
The team scurried for cover and finally took refuge in village houses. Police were informed about the incident, but it took the joint forces nearly an hour to reach the spot and rescue the injured Rupchand and admit him at Jhargram sub-divisional hospital.
“I’ll hold the rally at the same place on November 12. The attackers are scared of democratic campaigns that we have initiated in Jangalmahal. We’ll continue to do that,” said Adhikary.
In the ensuing combing operation, joint forces recovered a motorcycle believed to be of the Maoists, four directional landmines, a pistol and six rounds of live cartridges. A few posters, where Maoists have asked locals to boycott the Trinamool rally, were also recovered.
Local Maoist spokesperson Baha Tudu alleged Nisith was leading a gang of armed men. He said these people were threatening villagers to join the rally and at several villages, the group reportedly plundered houses and beat up people. “Like CPM harmads, Mahato is leading green harmads,” Tudu said, threatening to continue such attacks on Trinamool-led vigilante groups if they don’t abjure violence. The Maoist leader also alleged that on Sunday, Mahato’s men fired on their guerrillas.