After a lull on Monday, an armed group of Maoists struck at the collectorate premises in Bihar’s Lakhisarai district, adjoining Patna, on the second day of their 48-hour shutdown.
The Maoists had called a strike in five states — Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Orissa — to protest police action in Lalgarh.
In the Lakhisarai attack, the Maoists freed their commander, Mihir Besra, who was brought to the collectorate in connection with a case pertaining to the blowing up of a police picket in 2007.
Numbering around 50, the Maoists opened indiscriminate fire, killing a homeguard jawan, besides injuring the Lakhisarai deputy development commissioner (DDC), three security personnel and four civilians.
Though the police retaliated, the Maoists made good their escape with their commander, two rifles and a carbine.
Additional director general of police Neelmani (he goes by one name only) said Besra was an important leader of the Maoists. “He hails from Giridih in Jharkhand and was brought to the court for production. The Maoists seemed to have got this information and carried out the attack with full planning,” he said.
Besra was produced before a court in connection with a 2007 case in which a police picket was blown up. He was being taken to lock-up when the heavily armed Maoists arrived on two-wheelers and four-wheelers and started firing — and freed Besra.
In Jharkhand, the strike was peaceful, with vehicles staying off roads and commercial establishments being closed.