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6 killed in firing near Lalgarh
Kolkata, Jan 7 (IANS):
Published on 8 Jan. 2011 12:00 AM IST
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Six people, including a woman, were killed and at least 15 others were injured in firing near the Maoist stronghold of Lalgarh in West Bengal’s West Midnapore district Friday, police said.
“Six people have been killed in firing by miscreants. We are conducting raids in the area. So far no one has been arrested in this connection,” said West Midnapore district Additional Superintendent of Police (headquarters) Sukesh Jain.
“We are yet to receive any complaint in this regard. We are trying to identify the miscreants. After we get a specific complaint, we will take necessary steps against the accused,” he added.
Villagers, however, claimed armed Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) cadres opened fire at protesting villagers, leaving six people dead. The CPI-M has denied the allegation and blamed the Trinamool Congress instead for the violence.
According to villagers, the incident took place when hundreds of villagers of Netai village near Lalgarh surrounded a camp of armed CPI-M cadres in the house of local leader Ranjit Dandapadhay, protesting the threats the Marxists issued to them.
To prevent villagers from agitating in front of the camp, CPI-M cadres opened fire at them, the villagers added.
“At least 20 people were injured, of whom eight sustained critical bullet injuries. Later, six people, including a woman, succumbed to their injuries,” a villager and a Trinamool Congress supporter said on condition of anonymity.
He alleged that the CPI-M set up the camp to shelter hired armed cadres and threatened the villagers to provide food and send their children to the camp, where they would be imparted arms training for patrolling against Maoists at night.
“Our men are engaged in rescue operation. So far, 15 injured have been rushed to Midnapore Medical College and Hospital. The bodies of all those killed have also been sent there for autopsy,” said Jain.
Hospital sources said a woman, identified as Phoolkumari Maity, and Sourab Ghorui died while being taken to hospital and Dhrubu Goswami succumbed to his injuries in hospital. Three men - Shambhunath Ghorui, Dhiren Sen and Kabul Patro - died on the spot.
The CPI-M leadership in the district, however, denied the villagers’ allegations, saying there was no presence of CPI-M cadre camps in the area. CPI-M minister and local leader Sushanta Ghosh alleged that the Trinamool Congress brought goons from outside to capture the village.
When the villagers opposed, they opened fire, leaving five people dead, “including a local committee member of our party”.
Trinamool Congress MP Subhendhu Adhikari and Leader of Opposition in the state assembly Partha Chatterjee, meanwhile, reached Lalgarh to launch protests against the alleged killing of people by armed CPI-M cadres.
The Trinamool Congress has called a 12-hour shutdown in Midnapore Saturday to protest the killings.

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