Kolkata, Feb 7 (IANS) Suspected Maoists set fire to three trucks, resulting in severe burns to a driver, in West Bengal’s West Midnapore district for defying their call for a daylong shutdown Monday, police said.
“Two trucks were set ablaze at Purnapani forest area while another one was torched in Guptamani area in Jhargram sub-division of the district. In Purnapani, the driver was forcibly dumped into the truck after it was set on fire. The driver has been rescued with severe burn injuries and admitted to Jhargram sub-divisional hospital,” said West Midnapore Additional Police Superintendent (Operation) Mukesh Kumar.
“The Maoists are today (Monday) observing a 24-hour shutdown, so we are suspecting they are behind the crime,” Kumar told IANS over phone.
Police sources said the incidents occurred on state highway No.9, which passes through the forested area of Jhargram.
Around 50 armed Maoist cadres stopped the trucks plying on the highway, forced the drivers and helpers off the vehicles and set the trucks afire. When a truck driver argued with them, they dumped him in the burning truck.
In Guptamani, security personnel chased the ultra left rebels but could not arrest any of them, police said. In Purnapani, the rebels fled before security forces reached the spot.
A police picket has been set up along the state highway.
Maoists are active in three western districts of the state – West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia.
The outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) has called a shutdown in many states to protest the rising prices of essential commodities and corruption.