A Maoist, who allegedly shot dead a villager in Jharkhand’s Maoist infested Palamu district, was killed along with his wife in retaliation by the relatives of the villager on late Friday night, said police.

The incident happened at Kundilpur village under the Manatu police station area in Jharkhand’s Palamu district on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday. Kundilpur is a remote village, considered to be highly infested by Maoists. The area also shares borders with Bihar.

Though the incident happened around midnight, police teams could only arrive on Saturday after they received information in the morning.

The deceased were identified as villager Binod Singh, the CPI (Maoists) squad member Prakash Bhokta aka Pragas Singh and his wife Premni Devi, all residents of Kundilpur village in Palamu.

Prakash, who was a squad member of the CPI (Maoists), had come home to celebrate the New Year with his family a few days ago.

The Palamu superintendent of police (SP) Sanjeev Kumar said, “Three people were killed in a brawl that started around Friday midnight after the CPI (Maoists) squad member Prakash Bhokta shot dead a villager Binod Singh. In revenge, the relatives of Binod attacked Prakash with sticks. His wife was also beaten when she came to rescue her husband.”

The SP added, “Before the brawl, both the deceased had taken drinks together. However, they had heated altercation over some issue and the Maoists cadre brought a muzzle loading country-made gun and fired at Binod. He died on the spot.”

In turn, Binod’s five-six relatives assembled and beat the assailant and his wife to death, the SP stated.

Preliminary investigation revealed long pending enmity between the two sides. The SP, however, denied there was any land dispute between the two families.