Maoists burnt to death a youth Congress worker after shooting him and his fiancée when they were travelling in his Bolero in Jharkhand’s Simdega district late on Sunday night.
The Maoist scourge has rattled the Congress leadership in the state to the point where the president of the Jharkhand unit of the party, Pradip Kumar Balmuchhu, has said Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram should rethink the anti-Maoist offensive.
“Congress leaders and workers in the state are living in peril,” Balmuchhu said, adding that the onslaught against the Maoists was responsible for the rebels seeking to wreak vengeance on the party.
Sunday’s victim, Hemant Bage, 35, block-level youth Congress president, was supposedly a police spy. However, the police deny this.
While both the persons in the Bolero received two bullets, Bage’s fiancée, Sadan Kandulna, 26, managed to come out the car. She was trying to reach her home, which is about 500 metres from the site of the shooting, when she dropped after walking a distance. Local people took her home.
The vehicle was then set on fire, and Bage, who apparently was more seriously wounded and could not come out of the car, was burnt to death.
Kandulna is undergoing treatment at a Ranchi hospital.
Bage was going to drop Kandulna at her residence in Tutikel, around 20 km from Simdega town (145 km north of Ranchi), when
15 Maoists attacked the vehicle, Sub-Divisional Police Officer Varun Kumar said.
He was on the Maoists’ hit list, and had been attacked at least twice before, Kumar said.
“Despite this, he had not asked for police protection,” he added.
On the previous occasion when Bage was targeted, Maoists left posters saying that he was a police informer.
Last month Maoists had killed a block-level Congress leader called Govardhan Mahali, 40, at Dalbhumgarh, around 170 km southeast of Ranchi. The incident led to some Congress workers surrendering party membership out of fear.
Congress spokesperson Radha Krishna Kishore said: “They (Maoists) are cowards, killing innocent people.”