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Maoists attack police camp
Published on 24 Feb. 2010 12:32 AM IST
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Armed Maoists attacked a camp housing security personnel from various forces in West Bengal’s West Midnapore district late Monday night, just hours after their leader Koteswar Rao alias Kishenji offered a 72-day conditional ceasefire to the government, police said Tuesday. Three suspected Maoists were killed in the gunfight that ensued. “We suspect three people were killed in counter-firing by the security forces but two bodies were taken away by the Maoists,” state Director General of Police (DGP) Bhupinder Singh told IANS. “Only one body was found near the spot and it was of Lalmohan Tudu, who was the president of the People Committee against Police Atrocities (PCAPA),” Singh said. According to the police, Maoists attacked the camp housing state police and Central Reserve Paramilitary Force (CRPF) troopers at Katapahari in the district around 10.30 p.m. The security personnel - in the camp that is on a hillock surrounded by thick forests - retaliated and the gunfight continued for around two hours. Police said the Maoists first opened fire at the joint forces camp that housed more than one company of security personnel during Monday’s attack. Some firearms were recovered from the area after the incident. The authorities said none of the security personnel was injured in the attack. “Generally one company of security force comprises 70-80 jawans. There were more than one company of security personnel at the camp, including some state police officials,” Inspector General of Police Surajit Kar Purakayastha told IANS. Members of the PCAPA, meanwhile, called a total shutdown in three western districts - Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore - for the next seven days beginning Wednesday, protesting Lalmohan Tudu’s death. Tudu was an active leader of the PCAPA - an agitating tribal organisation that sprung up in the district’s Lalgarh area in late 2008, giving a huge fillip to Maoist activities in the region. Asked whether the police had any information about the general strike called by the PCAPA, Singh said: “We have not received any confirmed information about the strike that is reportedly beginning in the Maoist-affected districts from tomorrow (Wednesday). “We heard they (PCAPA) have kept schools and all essential commodities out of the purview of the shutdown.” The timing of the attack - so soon after the ceasefire offer by top Maoist leader Kishenji - caused confusion in the state police headquarters, with some officials taking it as a sign that Maoists could not be trusted, while others said it indicated a rift in the rebel ranks.

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