The naxalites of CPI (Maoist) struck again and returned with their violent ways ahead of the crucial local body polls in the state. The red rebels killed a senior Congress leader and Bhamragarh Panchayat Samiti chairman Bahadurshah Alam on Saturday morning at Bhamragarh in Gadchiroli district, bordering Chhattisgarh, some 300 kms from Nagpur in eastern part of Maharashtra.
According to reports reaching Nagpur this afternoon, the incident took place when Alam (45) was having tea with some villagers at a small tea stall in the local market area after a morning walk. A group of armed naxalites stormed the market area and asked Alam as to why was he contesting the ensuing zilla parishad elections.
When Alam justified his contention to contest, an altercation ensued between the naxalites and him. The Leftist rebels fired at him killing him on the spot in full public view. The Maoists fled the scene after raising slogans against parliamentary democracy and warned villagers of Bhamragarh, a tehsil headquarters, to desist from the electoral politics.
Alam, an influential tribal leader, is perhaps naxalites' first victim in this election season for expressing his desire to contest the local-self government elections in 'defiance' of their 'diktat' to boycott the zilla parishad elections scheduled for February.
It is said that Alam was not only contesting the ensuing local-self government elections himself, but encouraged others to contest the elections. This perhaps annoyed the naxalites who suspected that Alam was also a police informer.
Moreover, the ultra-leftists were annoyed with him for organizing a meeting of Salwa Judam leader from Chhattisgarh, K Madhukar Rao last year at Laheri, some 40 kms from Bhamragarh. Madhukar Rao was reportedly invited to Gadchiroli in March last year for a three-day public awareness campaign against naxalites. Rao, a school teacher, was the first to start Salwa Judam campaign in Chhattisgarh, along with the Congress leader, Mahendra Karma, in 2005 against naxalites.
Two-time zilla parishad member, Alam was supposed to file his nomination paper for the zilla parishad elections from Bhamragarh on Saturday. Incidentally, the Congress leader was eliminated near a tea stall, just 200 metres from the Bhamragarh police station.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Viresh Prabhu, the Superintendent of Police, Gadchiroli district, informed that a search has been launched in the area immediately after the incident. "We found his body this morning. He was not a police informer. But may be the Maoists suspected he was one," he added.