Burdwan: Security forces have confirmed the arrest of a top Maoist commander in West Medinipur, West Bengal on Thursday.
Mansaram Hembram, alias Bikas, was produced before a judicial magistrate court in West Medinipur district which sent him to police custody for 12 days on Wednesday.
He was wanted in a landmine attack on the then chief minister’s convoy in Salboni town in 2008. West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and then Union Steel Minister Ram Vilas Pawan had a narrow escape on November 2, 2008 when a powerful IED, suspected to be planted by the left-wing extremists went off moments near a culvert on the Salboni-Medinipur road after their convoys passed through Kalaichandi in West Medinipur District.
The explosive device was attached to a wire that stretched nearly two km across an adjoining paddy field. The blast damaged a pilot vehicle, which was following the convoy. Six police personnel in the pilot vehicle were injured, two of them seriously.
The leaders were returning from Salboni after attending the foundation laying ceremony of Jindal Steel Works’ mega steel plant. Police then suspected the CPI-Maoist to be behind the incident.
On Wednesday, Mohammad Habib, a lawyer said,” The court granted 12 days of PC (Police Custody) for recovery of arms and ammunition. The IO (Investigating Officer) also said that there are some people who are absconding. Therefore, his PC is required for the arrest of the rest of the accused.”
Maoists, also known as Naxals in India, are inspired by the political philosophy of China’s late Chairman Mao Zedong. They say they are fighting for the rights of poor farmers and landless labourers.
The rebels have operated for decades across a wide swath of central and eastern India, and grew in strength during recent times in areas where poor, tribal villagers came into conflict with mining companies seeking resources for industrialisation.
Maoists seek the violent overthrow of the Indian state but have so far not managed to spread significantly into urban areas.
They have killed police and politicians and targeted government buildings and railway tracks in an insurgency that has killed thousands since the 1960s.