The CPI(M)’s Bankura district leadership prefers liquidation of Ranjit Duley, a school headmaster and a local party leader who was kidnapped by Maoists on Friday afternoon, to exchange of prisoners.
Duley was kidnapped at gunpoint from his school at Sarenga, about 150 km northwest of Kolkata, by motorcycle-borne cadres of Sidhu Kanhu Gana Militia, a fighting arm of the Maoists.
“If the Maoists eliminate the hostage, it will be unfortunate, but preferable to exchange of prisoners,” said Amiya Patra, secretary of the CPI(M) district committee in Bankura and member of the party’s state committee.
He said, “The hostage shouldn’t be exchanged for six prisoners as demanded by the Maoists. That will shatter the morale of the police.”
The six prisoners were arrested on charges of killing Police Inspector Rabilochan Mitra on February 25.
Director General of West Bengal Police Bhupinder Singh, however, skirted the issue, saying, “No one has placed the exchange offer before us. How can I be sure of the authenticity of the demands?”
Duley’s elder brother, Ramkrishna, was killed by the Maoists on August 15. He, too, was a member of the CPI(M) branch committee (the lowest unit of the party).
Earlier, the state government got 14 Maoist prisoners released in a day to save Atindranath Datta, officer-in-charge of Sankrail police station in West Midnapore, who was abducted on October 20, 2009.’
Patra said, “We have put pressure on the administration to put in their best efforts to rescue Duley.” But Saturday marked the end of the first day of the two-day deadline set by the militia chief, Sidhu Soren.
“The deadline ends at 4 pm on Sunday, for releasing these villagers whom the cops have implicated in false cases. If our demand is not meet, we shall sit and decide on Duley’s fate,” Soren told HT on Saturday.