A Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader was among two people killed by suspected Maoists in and around this trouble-torn belt of West Midnapore district early on Sunday.
Inspector General of Police (Western Range) Kuldip Singh told IANS that 15-20 left wing extremists raided the house of CPI-M leader Nepal Mahato in Amdanga village of the Lalgarh-headquartered Binpur-II community block and slit his throat after dragging him out on the road.
A large posse of security forces comprising central paramilitary troopers and West Bengal state police personnel, deployed for the last six weeks to flush out the rebels from the area, combed Amdanga and adjoining villages and detained Anil Mahato - brother of the agitating tribal body People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) leader Chhatradhar Mahato as also five school students.
Singh said the rebels killed another person in the Belpahari area under Binpur-I block.
Despite the state government launching the massive security operation June 18 to free the area from Maoist guerrillas, killings of CPI-M leaders have been going on unabated. The rebels have also abducted four policemen in the past one week, two of whom still remain untraced.
Lalgarh, about 200 kms west of Kolkata, has been on the boil since November last year when a landmine exploded on the route of the convoy of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and two then central ministers -- Ram Vilas Paswan and Jitin Prasada.
Alleging police atrocities after the blast, the Maoists, alongside the PCAPA, launched an agitation and made the area a virtual "free zone" by torching police camps and offices of the ruling communists and driving out the civil administration.
Maoists are active in areas under 21 police stations in the state's three western districts - West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia.