Itahari, November 7:

Scores of women and children were injured when Maoists rained batons on a group of locals this morning, locals said. The group was protesting the Maoists for taking 14 locals under their control following an exchange of lathi blows and fire between the Maoists and the locals at Purbakusaha VDC in Sunsari district last night.

One person was injured in yesterday’s incident. The injured was identified as Pramod Shah. The Maoists have promised to foot his medical bills.

The incident occurred following a row over the running of a gambling stall in a fare in Purbakusaha VDC-5, locals said. The Maoists also seized 14 locals following the incident, but freed 13 of them in the presence of rights activists this evening.

Claming that Rajan Chaudhari, one of the captives, was a member of the Maoist retaliation group, Maoist commander of the Ratna Sakunta Brigade, Mausham, said: “He will be kept in a Maoist custody for a week for investigation.” Rajan, however, countered: “We opened fire, but I am not a member of the retaliation group.”

The incident has left the locals terrified.

Police inspector of the Duhabi Area Police Office, Pralhad Shah, said Maoists rained batons on locals and also opened fire.