Suspected Maoists masquerading as students of a high school near Jhargram and shot dead a CPI(M) leader in a first of a kind incident.
Six assailants all dressed in white shirt and navy blue trouser — uniform of Silda Radhacharan Sikkha Niketan — entered the school on the pretext of paying fees.
They dragged out Ananta Mukherjee (35), who is a CPI (M)'s Belpahari zonal committee member and a clerk at the school, and shot him.
Mukherjee's bodyguard Amarendranath Mondal who tried to fire from his pistol, sustained bullet injuries in his chest and admitted to hospital.
"A total of six Maoists had come in three motorbikes. While two were waiting outside, four entered the school office where Mukherjee used to work. They fired five to six shots at him from a 9-mm pistol. Then they escaped on their motorbikes towards Bankura," said Mukesh Kumar, additional superintendent of police (operations), Jhargram.
Maoists had carried out their deadliest attack in West Bengal at Silda killing 24 Eastern Frontier Rifles personnel on February 15. The school is just one km away from the camp where the Maoists carried out the attack.
After Monday’s incident an irate mob torched a scooter of a teacher and threw stones towards the school alleging some of the teachers and students were in connivance with the Maoists. They also protested against inadequate protection by the security forces.
According to CPM district sources, Mukherjee was their key man in Belpahari. He had became a driving force in mobilising a section of people for combating Maoists in the area.
Monday's incident makes it obvious the Maoists are trying to target key activists of its principal political opponent. After the CPI(M) began reclaiming Lalgarh, the rebels retaliated first by firing at CPI (M) branch committee member Tarun Banerjee on September 12.