Kishenji Might Be Wounded or Even Killed in Gunfight: Reports

Elusive Maoist leader Kishenji might have been wounded or even killed in a 12-hour gunfight started between the rebels and the security personnel near Lalgarh, said media reports citing police.

Reports quoted an unnamed police authority as saying that Kishenji was likely to be severely wounded in the exchange of fire that occurred at the Hatishol forest close to Lakhanpur village since 6 am on Thursday.

“Our ground level sources at Lakhanpur have informed us that around 15 Maoists have died in the battle. While a section of informers said Kishenji suffered a bullet injury to his leg, another group said he might be dead. We can’t be sure till we find the bodies,” the officer was quoted as saying.

The gunfight began when security forces reached the place at a tip-off that a group of PLGA guerrillas and Maoist leaders had convened at the Hatishol forest, adjacent to Lakhanpur, said reports.

“The security forces reached the spot around 6 am and the gun battle started. It went on for nearly 12 hours,” the officer was quoted as saying.

The 51-year-old Rao, CPI (Maoist) Politburo and Central Military Commission member, better known as Kishenji, is in charge of the eastern regional bureau for the Maoists.

Earlier on Wednesday night after their two-day shutdown call in seven states was over, Maoists blew up an under- construction police station in Bihar and ransacked a CPI(M) office in West Bengal.

The attack in Bihar took place in an area about 125 km from Patna late on Wednesday.

According to reports, about 150 heavily armed Maoists attacked the Bheldi police station around 11.30 pm, fired indiscriminately and took the caretaker, Mohammed Islam, hostage. They then blasted the building with dynamite, reducing the structure to rubble.

In West Bengal, more than a month after they killed 24 Eastern Frontier Rifles troopers in Shilda, 170 km west of Kolkata, Maoists attacked the office of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) at the same place on Wednesday night and ransacked the office.
“With the help of local opposition parties, the Maoists have ransacked our party office in Shilda,” Amiya Sengupta, CPI(M) zonal committee secretary of Belpahari was quoted as saying.

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