[Reader-list] Maoists burn women alive

Pawan Durani pawan.durani at gmail.com
Sat Jun 26 09:40:16 IST 2010


Bankura, June 25: Suspected Maoists torched a house killing an
80-year-old woman and her elderly daughter when they did not find a
CPM leader on Wednesday night.

Their neighbours at Bagdubi village, who had kept mum for a day,
called up Nabin Hembrum in his hideout this morning and told him his
house was gutted and they had seen two bodies amid the rubble.

Nabin, who stays 40km away in Khatra since the Maoists named him on a
hit list, went to police after hearing what had happened to his house.

The police removed its burnt remains amid the stink of rotting flesh
and pulled out the bodies of Amala Hembrum and Saraswati Hembrum, 55.

The Maoists had shot dead Nabin’s younger brother Kalipada last
December. He had stayed back to look after their farmland when Nabin
and another brother, Gabin, fled home.

The Maoists had been hunting for Nabin since the CRPF shot dead two
squad members on December 15, 2006. “They think it was Nabin who
tipped off the police about their presence in Bagdubi,” a police
officer said. The hit list was released soon after.

Nabin was a CPM local committee member and a leader in his village.
His brothers were party sympathisers.

Residents of Bagdubi, a village in the midst of a jungle 210km from
Calcutta, said 30-40 people came to the Hembrums’ house around 9.30pm
on Wednesday. “They went inside and we heard muffled voices and
screams. We were terrified and did not dare to go near. Soon after,
the attackers stepped out and set the hut ablaze. They watched it burn
for some time and left. In the morning, we ventured closer and saw
from a distance the burnt bodies,” said a villager.

Nabin and Gabin identified their mother and sister from their burnt
clothes and bangles. Their faces had been charred beyond recognition.

Since December 2006, this was the second time the brothers stepped
into the village. The only other occasion was Kalipada’s death.

“Revenge appears to have been the motive,” Bankura police chief Vishal
Garg said. The rebels would have known that Nabin wouldn’t be at home.

This is the first time CPI (Maoist) guerrillas have killed their
target’s kin in his absence. In May 2002, alleged People’s War Group
members had killed CPM member Sristidhar Mahato’s wife and
three-year-old daughter after he gave them the slip. A 60-year-old
woman related to the Mahatos was also killed in West Midnapore’s
Salboni. On December 31, 2005, the party’s Purulia district
secretariat member, Rabindranath Kar, and his wife were locked in and
burnt by the Maoists in Bandwan.

Although it was not clear why the Maoists killed Nabin’s mother and
sister, police sources said it was meant to warn people against
informing the police about their activities. “It comes at a time when
several Maoists have been arrested following tip-offs from villagers,”
the officer said.

Teen abducted

The Maoists are suspected to have abducted the teenage son of a CPM
leader in West Midnapore’s Binpur.

Branch committee member Motilal Tudu said one of his neighbours got a
call last night in which a man demanded the release of an arrested
Maoist action squad member in exchange for his son. The police said
the Maoists wanted the release of Durga Mandi, who had been arrested
on June 20.

Six people came on motorcycles and took Srimanta, 18, away last night.
Motilal has been staying away from home as he is on the rebels’ hit

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