Maoists shot dead six persons, including three policemen, in Orissa, Bihar and West Bengal as their call for a two-day shutdown in seven states came to a close on the midnight of Tuesday.
In Orissa, armed ultras ambushed a group of 30 policemen in a forest in Gajapati district, 350 km from Bhubaneswar, killing two men from the Special Operations Group of the state police and a local policeman in a fierce three-hour gun battle. The policemen were on their way to raid a rebel camp in the forest, said Inspector General of Police (Operations) Sajiv Marik.
Marik said all routes to the area had been sealed and a combing operation had been launched to locate the Maoists
In Bihar’s Gaya district, about 60 heavily armed extremists swooped on a toll plaza on the Grand Trunk Road, shooting indiscriminately and hurling bombs late on Tuesday night.
The Maoists killed a private security guard and a truck driver before escaping with 16 weapons and Rs 8 lakh in cash from the locker.
Vimal Shahi, accounts officer of the toll plaza, said, “The Maoists held officials here as hostages and went on to break open the locker and looted cash and weapons. They smashed 13 computers used to maintain the accounts and blew up a room near the office.”
The extremists also engaged men from a nearby police station in an encounter before proceeding to the toll plaza.
Deputy Inspector General of Police (Magadh Range) Anumpama Nilekar said, “A combing operation has been launched in the areas believed to be hideouts of the Maoists.” She said the Central Reserve Police Force and the state police’s Special Task Force were engaged in the operation.
This was the Maoists’ second attack in Gaya district within 24 hours. Late on Monday night they had derailed the Bhubaneswar-New Delhi Rajdhani
Express by blasting the railway track. More than 600 passengers had a miraculous escape after the driver braked as soon as he saw a red banner across the track.
In Bengal, Maoists killed a CPI(M) supporter after abducting him from his house in West Midnapore district. The abduction took place a day after a local committee secretary of the CPI(M) was shot dead.