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Archive for the ‘WESTBENGAL’ Category

Maoists expand political and military operations in West Bengal

Posted by ajadhind on October 28, 2010

from Frontlines of Revolutionary Struggle http://www.revolutionaryfrontlines.wordpress.com

[In one district after another, as government forces find themselves unable to suppress popular resistance, including village militias and Maoist units, they appeal to be classified as an “LWE – affected” (left-wing-extemist-affected) area, to obtain more police funding and materials.–ed.]

Kolkata: The Left Front may be claiming success in the anti-Maoist operations in Junglemahal but an internal government report indicates that the ultras who till now had been confined to Junglemahal — Purulia, West Midnapore and South 24 Parganas — have spread to other nearby districts.

The police and local administrations of Birbhum, Nadia and Murshidabad districts have submitted a report to the state home department requesting that some police stations in their districts should be brought under the ambit of Left Wing Extremism-affected area considering the increased activities of the Maoists there.

According to the reports submitted by the state police to state home department, eight police stations in Nadia, six police stations in Birbhum and three police stations in Murshidabad have seen increased Maoist activities in recent months.

“The reports and the recommendations have been submitted to us and we have forwarded it to the state home department. After scrutinizing the facts, the report will be sent to the Centre for approval from the state home department,” said Surajit Kar Pura Kayestha, IG (Law and Order).

Police sources said Dubrajpur and Khairashol police stations in Birbhum district, which have been mentioned as Maoist-affected areas, had always been a safe haven for the Maoists. “Several senior Maoists leaders, including Kalpana Ruidas, were arrested from the area,” said a senior police officer.

The report accessed by The Indian Express further states that the Maoists have formed a regional committee in Nadia and an area committee in Jalangi. There are over 30 members in the area committee. “The Maoists started setting up their base in the area after forming an outfit called Mazdoor Krishak Sangram Samity, which works like a frontal organisation of the Maoists much akin to the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) in West Midnapore,” said a senior police officer.

“As per the information we have gathered till now, the area committee is led by Prasanta Das alias Raja, a resident of Kotwali,” the officer added.

“Das is the key person in the area who is strengthening the cadre’s base in Murshidabad and Nadia districts. They have started spreading their influence in the colleges of the district,” the officer said.

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Posted in NAXALISM, WESTBENGAL | 2 Comments »

Azad killing was murder: Mamata

Posted by ajadhind on August 10, 2010

LALGARH: Trinamool Congress chief and railway minister Mamata Banerjee lived up to her reputation of being a maverick politician at a rally in Lalgarh, West Bengal, on Monday.

Putting herself at odds with her own government’s assessment that Naxalism is India’s biggest internal security threat, Mamata Banerjee on Monday questioned the killing of a Maoist leader and virtually offered them an olive branch. “Give me a date and time for the talks. Let this politics of murder and terror stop. If need be, the joint operations have to stop during the negotiations,” she said.

Referring to the encounter death of Maoist chief spokesman Cherukuri Rajkumar, popularly known as Azad, in Andhra Pradesh on July 2, Mamata described it as ‘khoon (murder)’. “Azad’s killing was not right. Swami Agnivesh has told me they want to talk again.”

Mamata clearly does not mind if her comments raise eyebrows in Delhi. She is ready to bear with the unease — as long as it serves to mobilize people against the ruling CPM in rural West Bengal.

Posted in ANDHRAPRADESH, Comrades, GREEN HUNT, IN NEWS, NAXALISM, WESTBENGAL | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Chhattisgarh has reached West Bengal. The forces, the rapes, the resistance, and the State response: it’s an eerie replay

Posted by ajadhind on July 26, 2010

BY TUSHA MITTAL, tehelka

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Wary A village woman peeps at patrolling security forces in conflict-ridden Lalgarh, West Bengal

Photo: AFP

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Pover Wars

IF MAYA had been born in a city, you would have heard her name by now. You would have heard a quivering voice describing how she was flung onto a bed by a jawan sent to protect her. You would have seen a delicate old woman holding up trembling fingers to her forehead — a description of how she was raped at gunpoint.

But Maya has lived in the forests of West Bengal for 50 years, in a village called Sonamukhi. That has turned her into a different kind of citizen, invisible, easily ignored. Perhaps that is why she will never stir a nation’s collective consciousness — the same nation that was outraged over accusations of an IG raping a schoolgirl, Ruchika, in urban Chandigarh. Perhaps that is why it has been left to another group to take up her cause — PCAPA (People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities), that began as a movement against state repression, but which the West Bengal government claims is now a front for the CPI (Maoist). And that is why — whether PCAPA is what the State thinks it to be — the group has secured Maya’s firm support.

One year since Operation Lalgarh began, it seems the zone of conflict has shifted, moving from Lalgarh towards Jhargram subdivision. Jhargram first came to the fore when the Maoists attacked a police station in Sankrail. Some months ago, Jhargram was declared a new police district, given a new SP, and additional troops were sent in. Jhargram could now be on its way to becoming the new Lalgarh.

TESTIMONIAL
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MAYA*, 50
On June 30, I returned from grazing the cows. A jawan dragged me into my house and pushed me onto the bed. He put a gun to my head and said he would shoot if I screamed for help. He raped me. My husband was in a room above, but I was too scared to yell for him

The village of Sonamukhi too is part of this new battle ground. Until two months ago, the PCAPA had no presence in Sonamukhi. Nor had the joint-forces ever raided the village. Now, the PCAPA has already helped villagers build their own road here. The reason why Sonamukhi is significant is because it shows that then group continues to expand despite the State’s crackdown. The State’s strategy of rendering the committee headless has yielded little result. Its first president Lalmohan Tudu was killed in what TEHELKA reported was a fake encounter, and its secretary Chhattradhar Mahato has been in Midnapore Jail, booked under the draconian UAPA act since November 2009. Yet, the committee claims to have approximately 20,000 active members and have 80 percent of conflict zone Bengal as it base, stretching over the three worst affected districts — West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura. (Incidentally also Bengal’s poorest areas.)

The PCAPA runs a parallel government in the conflict zones with an astonishing ease. It is also fertile territory for the Maoists

This is further significant because PCAPA has been held responsible for the Gyaneshwari train derailment that killed atleast 120 people in West Bengal last month. The CBI has already arrested eight men including a mastermind named Bapi Mahato, a PCAPA member. It has named PCAPA spokesperson Asit Mahato and Central Committee member Umakanto Mahato as the other two most-wanted in this case. While investigators say that Bapi has confessed to his involvement in the incident, the PCAPA claims innocence. The Maoists have also denied involvement in this.

Last week, TEHELKA journeyed inside the PCAPA, visiting its strongholds and speaking to cadres. TEHELKA met PCAPA spokesperson Asit Mahato, 32, near his hideout in the forests of Jangalmahal. Before Mahato went underground, he was a supporter of the Jharkhand Party, which currently holds the Lalgarh assembly seat. Asit says his father was tortured by CPM goons in 1998 when he raised his voice against corruption by local CPM leader Anuj Pandey. That is what shaped Asit’s politics.

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Rebels all
CBI most wanted Asit Mahato (Top) and Manoj Mahato (Bottom)

GREETING US in a pair of sunglasses, brown pants and a striped collar shirt, Asit laughed at his status as CBI’s most-wanted. “The PCAPA is not involved in the Gyaneshwari incident. We had no knowledge of this,” he said. “This has been done by the CPM to defame us. Everyone who has been arrested is a former CPM worker. Bapi was a CPM mole. The CBI has no evidence against me. They have declared Rs 1 lakh reward for me, so we have declared our own reward – 1 lakh each for 9 absconding CPM netas – Sushanto Ghosh, Lakhan Ghosh, Anuj Pandey, Prashanto Das, etc. We will also reward villagers who can bring us the real planners and perpetrators of the Gyaneshwari derailment.”

In many ways, PCAPA is at a crossroads, desperate to prove it has no links with the CPI (Maoist). The committee was formed in 2008 after the police tortured a tribal woman called Chidamani, almost blinding her, during anti-Naxal raids in Salboni. “Our primary demand was an apology from the SP. If he had done that, the andolan might have ended there. But now the public at large hates the police and the CPM. People want to live with dignity, for that we are ready to fight,” said Ajit Mahato, a PCAPA member who, like most, had to flee underground when the joint-operation began in June 2009.

As the joint operation flared up in Lalgarh and the Maoists offered to support PCAPA, there were several internal debates. Chhatradhar Mahato and Lalmohan Tudu walked the middle ground, meeting the Chief Election Commissioner before the general election, negotiating the release of an Assistant Sub-Inspector the Maoists had abducted.

After Chhattradhar’s arrest by policemen posing as journalists, Asit declared the group to be an armed militia. But now, he denies any use of arms by PCAPA. “We only declared that if needed we will use arms in self-defence, but have not done so yet,” he said. That may be a false claim since there are men with arms wandering around PCAPA strongholds.

Sources say there are differing schools of thought within the PCAPA. Some are in touch with Chhattradhar Mahato, letters have been exchanged, and the idea of a political party has been discussed. “We believe in democracy. We are not ruling out the idea of a political party,” Asit Mahato said.

While the hard line faction of PCAPA is comfortable with use of arms, the soft liners would rather that Chhattradhar Mahato contest an election, even if from within jail. That such a thought exists in the party could be seen in two ways. At worst, it could be a strategic move that has the backing of CPI (Maoist) while attempting to distance the PCAPA from them on the surface. At best, it is an indication that the CPI (Maoist) may have influence, but does not remote control the ‘front’. It is possible that the majority of the CPI (Maoist) recruitment in West Bengal is done from within the PCAPA. Yet, the PCAPA is not a banned outfit. The irony is that by treating it as such, the State is only pushing it further underground. “We are ready for talks. The State is not allowing us to come overground,” Asit said.

Even if Asit is caught, there will be new faces ready to take his place. Already younger, more confident leaders are emerging. During TEHELKA’S interview with Asit Mahato, the spokesperson said very little. All along, 26-year-old Manoj Mahato, a Central Committee member, sat by his side, whispering into his ear. He was only distracted when he received a phone call from Midnapore town. “What is my shirt size? Double XL? Or XL?” he asked other cadres before turning to us. “My lahver,” he grinned. “We will get married soon.”

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Defiance
Residents of Sonamukhi village gather to protest the alleged rapes by security forces
TESTIMONIAL
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LOKHI*, 35

Two men pressed me down. They wanted to rape me but I held my knees together. I didn’t want to part them. I’m a married woman. I have selfrespect and dignity, which they stripped me of. They also stole Rs 1,500. I will identify those bastards. I want them hanged

IN THE distance, PCAPA’s new flag swayed in the wind. White represents peace, green for the forests, and a bow and arrow symbol represents the Adivasis. PCAPA is the first Maoist-backed outfit to have a flag. Walk around this PCAPA stronghold and it is easy to forget one is in a conflict zone. There is a PCAPA-run kitchen distributing hot rosogallas and jamun, a vast open field with cycles, motorbikes and cows, and a make-shift thatched roof dining area where all PCAPA workers eat together. Nearby, workers are busy building PCAPA’s first state of the art health center. It will have an operating room, an outpatient room, an office, and a room for the MBBS doctors and surgeons PCAPA plans to recruit. Already the PCAPA says it is providing basic health care in 26 health camps across Jangalmahal.

In Salboni block, it has built 50 small dams or water reservoirs from where canals can extend to irrigate fields. It has also built about 20 km road at the cost of Rs 47,000. In the village of Belasol, another PCAPA stronghold, Pradeep Mahato can now cultivate his five bigha plot three times a year. Earlier, he could only grow rice and harvest once. For 40 years, he depended on rain. “The land is so fertile, but there was no irrigation facility,” he says. PCAPA installed a water pump in the village at the cost of Rs 16,000, covered by collection Rs 100 from each the joint-forces. In a matter of minutes, villagers say about 500 armed men had surrounded the village.

The State pushed the PCAPA underground. Now, it can use justice to pull them out. It still has more tools than it chooses to use

Police sources said they raided the village because they had specific “human and technical intelligence” that CBI most-wanted Umakanto Mahato was hiding there. During the search operation, gun shots were heard from Kajol Mahato’s house. Police claim they were fired at by Maoists and PCAPA members hiding atop her house. They say the rebels escaped, but left two jawans severely injured. Locals contest this version and say the police entered the same house from two directions. Both search parties ended up firing at each other, injuring the jawans in the process.

While search operations proceeded through the day, villagers say the forces told the women to collect in the courtyard. “They separated the older women, asking us to wait at a different spot,” says Shayoni Mahato, 55. “Utho, Utho, bheetar chalo,” Shayoni says she saw the forces pointing to a few younger women. “When they began calling the married women into a room, I suddenly realised what their intention was,” she says.

TESTIMONIAL
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UMA*, 30

The forces halted outside my door. They asked me if anyone was at home. I said no. Three of them pushed me in. They laid down the charpai and flung me on it. After they began to tear my clothes, I lost consciousness. One of them pressed himself upon me and raped me

As the forces dragged the women in, Shayoni ran to her daughter-in-law Soma, encircled her and refused to leave. “They beat me with a stick and threw me to the ground,” Shayoni says. “It was only after I told them that Soma is 5 months pregnant that they let her go.” Maya was also dragged into the room, her cupboards opened, and belongings searched. She says a jawan pulled a cheek and stole Rs 10,000 from her drawer. Her husband, a contractor, sells Sal leaves in Orissa. He had just returned the previous night with the money. What saved her from being raped was perhaps a photograph of a police contingent that fell out from a notebook. The jawan let her go after realising that her brother-inlaw was a constable.

On June 6, the villagers of Sonamukhi – led by local PCAPA members — marched to the Jhargram SDO’s office, C. Murugan. They detailed the incident and asked him to order an inquiry. Murugan constituted a special medical board. The next day six women underwent a swab test at the Jhagram hospital. Hospital sources said the swab samples have been sent to the SDO office. Since the swabs were taken more than 24 hours after the incident, the medical board has recommended that they be sent to the FSL lab in Kolkata. However, no police case has yet been registered.

BUT A troubling revelation complicates this story of rape. In all, eight women in Sonamukhi allege rape. TEHELKA met five women, of which two said they had been beaten but not raped. Significantly, in hushed whispers one of them spoke of how villagers were insisting she had been raped. “I was taken to the fields, encircled by a group of men and beaten so hard, I can’t bend down to collect water. Maybe they had intentions to rape me, but they were called away. I’ve told the local PCAPA leaders that I have not been raped,” said Kajol Mahato. Yet, the PCAPA alleges otherwise. The local leaders took these women, Kajol included, to the SDO’s office. “We have no knowledge of such an exaggeration. This is the first we are hearing of this. We will look into it,” a PCAPA Central Committee member said when confronted.

While this could be read as mere propaganda from the PCAPA, it would be wise not to dismiss it as such. The villagers march into an SDO’s office is a window of opportunity for the State. If the government is able to order an independent inquiry into these rape allegations, it would strengthen those in the PCAPA who believe in democracy. If it doesn’t, it will give more ammunition to the hardliners. The State first pushed the PCAPA underground; it can now use justice and democracy to pull them out. A year into Operation Lalgarh, the State still has more tools than it chooses to use.

PHOTOS: PINTU PRADHAN

Posted in CHHATISGARH, GREEN HUNT, IN NEWS, NAXALISM, WESTBENGAL | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

“We are not involved in the Sardiha incident, so we take no responsibility of it” – CPI – MAOIST

Posted by ajadhind on May 31, 2010

Both the CPI (Maoist) and PCAPA have denied their involvement in the Friday train derailment

by G. N. Saibaba

Yesterday’s( 28 May 2010) Gnaneshwari Express and a goods train tragedy near Kharagpur in West Bengal in which 80 people were killed and 200 injured was attributed to CPI(Maoist) and Peoples Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) by the media. The media unscrupulously played false news stories blaming CPI (Maoist) and Peoples Committee for two days. Some political parties like Trinomial Congress and the ruling CPI(Marxist) also blamed these organisations without any verification. Significantly Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram has declined to attribute the blame on the CPI (Maoist) and also announced that there was no evidence of any bomb blast in the incident.

The Union Home Minister has ordered an enquiry to find out any possibility of sabotage. During the day the leaders of CPI (Maoist) clarified through a long statement that they were not responsible for the train tragedy and condemned any possible sabotage work if any force involved behind the incident. They have also expressed their condolences for the families of deceased. The PCAPA also clarified that their activists are not involved in this incident. They suspected the ruling CPI(Marxist) to have been involved in the sabotage desperately trying to tilt the public opinion against the fighting forces.

Purposefully the media did not cover the statement issued by the CPI (Maoist) while playing the false stories and commentaries blaming the CPI (Maoist) for the incident.

Some all India newspapers like The Hindu wrote editorials blaming the CPI (Maoist) for the incident. Many other newspapers wrote major articles decrying the CPI (Maoist) as terrorist attributing the blame on them. Now when the clarifications come from CPI (Maoist) and PCAPA, will these media houses withdraw their false stories and give the facts to the people? Will they regret for propagating the false news?

These two days of false propaganda is made with a malicious intension of maligning the CPI (Maoist) and PCAPA.

I attach here news reports covering the statement of clarification from the CPI (Maoist) and PCAPA by a section of newspapers in West Bengal. The same newspaper didn’t cover it in their editions coming from all other cities.

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Statement on Train(Jnaneswari Express) accident by the Maoists
The following report was published in the Bengali Ananda Bazar Patrike dt. 29 May 2010, page 7, Kolkata edition. It bore the caption ‘Denying allegations about their involvement, the Maoists demand enquiry’ and written by Prasun Acharyya. The statement was issued in the name of Aakash, the Maoist WB State Committee leader.

On Friday night, the following statement was issued on behalf of the CPI(Maoist) WB State Committee. “We are in no way involved in this incident. We did not carry out any explosion in the railway line. Killing innocent people by sabotaging railway line is not our agenda. When we carry out any action, there are always some specific reasons behind. We also acknowledge responsibility for that. Whenever we commit mistakes we admit it. However, responsibility is being placed on us now for an incident in which we are in no way involved”. Accusing the CPI(Marxist) of putting blame on them the Maoists said “The CPI(M) is haunted by the prospect of a landslide defeat in the coming municipal elections. Thus they have opted for a strategy of killing two birds with a single stone. On the one hand, attempts are being made to brand us as terrorists and thus isolate us from the people. On the other hand, they are seeking to prove that Mamata Banerjee is completely misfit as the railway minister”. The Maoists did not directly state that the CPI(M) was involved in the incident. But what they said is: “In the coming days also such unfortunate incidents can take place in order to malign Mamata and the Maoists”. The WB State Committee of the Maoists strongly condemned this act and stated: “This act deserves unequivocal condemnation. We are extending our sympathies to the members of the bereaved families. We also wish the speedy recovery of those who are injured”.

Meanwhile, the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities has accused the CPI(M) of being involved in it. In reply to a query, the Maoists said: “We are not accountable for whatever one might say. We are not saying that the CPI(M) was involved in it. Let the railways make enquiry. The members of our party have made investigation after the incident. It was the removal of fish plates that led to the accident. There was no line for one metre stretch, side-clips were open. That led to derailment. Let the railways enquiry why side clips were open at the junction points of rail lines. No explosion took place at the site. Had there been any explosion, stones would have broken up and thrown out. But nothing like it happened”.

The Maoists said that whenever any untoward incident takes place along the railway route, the tendency is always to accuse them for such incidents. “Three days back, eleven bogies of the New Delhi -Gwahati Rajdhani Express were derailed near Naogachhia Station in Bihar. It was not a major accident. However, initially the blame was put on us. Later on, it was found that it was the fault of the railways that led to such a mishap”.

Even though the Maoists claim not to have directed any attack on the innocent people, why did they carry put land mine explosion in a passenger bus at Dantewada? The statement reads follows: “Special Pollce Officers(SPOs) and the CRPF were travelling in that bus. We have told people in Chhattisgarh time and again not to travel in the same bus along with the police and CRPF personnel. But it was the state government which had forced the common people to travel along with the police in the same bus. That is why common people also died along with the police”.

The Maoists accepted responsibility for the Dantewada incident; but not for this mishap. “We are not involved in the Sardiha incident, so we take no responsibility of it”, the Maoist statement said.

The Hindustan Times dt. 29 May 2010 carried only a brief statement from the Maoists: “Killing innocent civilians is not on our agenda. We have no links with this tragic incident, and we sympathise with the families of the deceased and the injured”. Akash, Member, CPI(Maoist) State Committee, West Bengal.

‘Not We, CPI(M) is to blame’

Both the CPI(Maoist) and PCAPA have denied their involvement in the Friday train derailment of the Maharashtra-bound Gyaneshwar Express, and condemned it as an act of criminal conspiracy on part of the ruling CPI(M), as reported by the Bengali daily Sangbad Pratidin, 29 May).

The statement by CPI(Maoist) state committee secretary, Kanchan, says, “This incident is against the line practised by our Party. We are not involved in it. CPI(M) and Police have jointly conspired to effect it.”

Confirming it, Com Khokan representing the State Committee leader Akash of CPI(Maoist) said, “We are not at all involved in this incident. We do not kill innocent people. Fearing losing its rule, this is a ploy by CPI(M) to kill two birds with one stone. To paint the Maoists as terrorists and to declare the Railway minister, Mamata Banerjee as incapable. Even before this when the Rajdhani met with an accident, the State government pointed the finger on us. Our State Committee fully condemns this act. We share the pain with the families of the deceased and stand by them in this hour of grief.”

The PCAPA has also denied its involvement with the incident, and declared it as an act of sabotage by the ruling CPI(M). Its leader, Asit Mahato said, “We are not involved with this incident. CPI(M) is directly involved in it, and writing posters in our name and planting the same on the site, is trying to put the blame on us.”

Meanwhile the student union, USDF, leader Soumya Mandal also said, “Whether this incident is a handiwork of the CPI(M) or the Maoists, we completely condemn it. We offer our condolences to the families of the deceased and demand a comprehensive inquiry into the incident.”

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Maoists kill 21 jawans in West Bengal

Posted by ajadhind on February 19, 2010

source
BELPAHARI (WEST MIDNAPORE): Scores of Maoists ambushed security forces in Silda (just 30km from Midnapore town) on Monday, killing 21 Eastern Frontier Rifle (EFR) jawans and abducting many injured soldiers, in the most devastating and daring Naxal attack in Bengal so far. The camp, located in the middle of a busy market place, was completely gutted.

Clad in tracksuits and preparing dinner, around 50 EFR men were caught completely off guard when 60 to 70 Maoists began firing from automatic rifles. The jawans were boxed in by the five-foot walls and barbed wire fence of their camp as the guerrillas opened fire from all sides.

Maoist leader Kishanji claimed responsibility for the attack almost immediately after it took place. “This is our Operation Peace Hunt against their Operation Green Hunt,” Kishanji told TOI. “This is our reply to Chidambaram and Buddhadeb. Steer clear of the jungles of Bengal, Orissa, Bihar and Jharkhand.”

According to sources, scores of members of the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA), the most dreaded of Maoist forces in Jharkhand, had slipped into Bengal two days prior to the attack.

Incidentally, it hasn’t even been a week since Union home minister P Chidambaram, in Kolkata, announced a four-state crackdown on Maoists during a meeting with chief ministers of Naxal-hit states.

The EFR camp is inside a public health centre near the crowded Silda bazaar. It’s possible that EFR authorities did not apprehend a Maoist attack in an area bustling with civilians. But the crowd cover worked for the Maoists, who went unnoticed as they started gathering in the market in threes and fives in the afternoon.

Cut off by the boundary wall, the jawans had no inkling of what was happening outside. By 5pm, the guerrillas had completely surrounded the camp and taken the high ground. The jawans were sitting ducks. They were lounging around or rolling out dough for chapatis when the Maoists began firing from their Insas and AK-47 rifles.

The firing was so heavy that it set the jawans’ tent ablaze. Some of them were burnt alive. Others tried to escape but were caught in the barbed wire. The Maoists dumped some of the injured personnel in the back of a pick-up van and sped away. They also looted 20 rifles from the camp.

The operation lasted barely 30 minutes, said Hiren Mahato, an eyewitness. Rakesh Lepcha, a cook at the camp, said: “I saw four of our men being burnt alive. Another two were shot dead in front of my eyes.”

There was no help for the injured and the traumatized survivors till 7.30pm, although Jhargram is a short drive away. Reinforcements dared not move from any of the nearby camps. “We had specific information that landlines and IEDs had been planted on the approach roads,” said a police officer.

In fact, the Silda ambush was foretold by PCPA leader Asit Mahato. “There will be an assault within 24 hours,” he had threatened on Sunday. “The police made a terrible mistake by raiding my house at Bhulageria and attacking my ailing mother,” he said.

Posted in NAXALISM, WESTBENGAL | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

8 cops injured in Maoist attack

Posted by ajadhind on February 1, 2010

Statesman News Service
PURULIA/KOLKATA, 31 JAN : At least eight policemen including an ASP, DSP (headquarters) and officer in-charge of Bandwan police station were injured in an attack by suspected Maoists in Kumra village in Purulia today. Three ultra-left extremists and a villager also sustained bullet injuries during the retaliatory raid conducted by the joint forces.
Acting on a tip off that several top Maoist leaders have assembled at Kumra village near Bandwan to attend a meeting organised by the leaders of Peoples’ Committee against Police Atrocities and members of Sidhu Kanu Gana Militia, a police team led by Mr C Sudhakar, ASP and Mr Tanmoy Sarkar DSP (headquarters) Purulia, raided the village to arrest the Maoist leaders. The Maoists had been mobilising in the area for the last seven days. “We had specific information that there were some top Maoist leaders, including those involved in recent killings, were at the rally,” said Purulia, SP, Mr Rajesh Yadav. Around 11.30 a.m., when the police team was returning after arresting three suspected Maoist leaders after their raid, a gang of 25 Maoists and members of Gana Militia Committee attacked them. Soon, the villagers and the PCPA leaders joined the Maoists to prevent the police from entering into their villages.  
The policemen were attacked with axes and machetes. Police lathicharged the mob and were answered with a volley of arrows and bricks. Someone swung an axe on the ASP, a 33-year-old IPS officer. His bodyguard got in the way and took the blow on his body.
In no time, the 450-strong crowd at the rally joined the fight. Mr Sudhakar collapsed on the ground with head and face injuries. The DSP’s right hand was fractured while the Bandwan OC suffered multiple injuries. Five constables had arrows pierced in their heads and legs. Two villagers have reportedly received bullet wounds. Outnumbered, police fired in the air to disperse the mob, said an officer. The Maoists then started shooting from the jungles. A PCPA member accused police of shooting at the villagers, but police denied this. “How could we shoot at them when the Maoists threw children and women in front,” said an officer. As the gunfight raged on, reinforcements rushed from Purulia to rescue the team. Twenty-four villagers were arrested for the violence, said Mr Yadav.  The injured were taken to Bandwan health centre and then moved to Purulia sadar hospital. Dr Amabasu Das, CMOH, Purulia said six policemen and two villagers had been admitted to hospital. However, the PCPA leaders blamed the police for the violence. “They raided the village and barged into homes. Villagers were beaten up. Even women and children were not spared. So long as the police atrocities continue, we will fight back,” said Mr Ajit Manki, convenor of the Purulia unit of PCPA

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Farmers in Lalgarh Region Don’t Have to Repay Crop Loans: Kishenji

Posted by ajadhind on December 23, 2009

Hindustan Times, Dec 17: Farmers in West Midnapore district of West Bengal may not have to repay their crop loans. The Maoists have announced a waiver. This is the first time the rebel group has announced such a decision.

“Several peasants who took crop loans over the last two years have suffered losses. So, we have decided that they don’t have to pay back their loans,” said Koteshwar Rao, alias Kishenji, member of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist). “Moreover, no agricultural cooperative, bank or private money lender will be allowed to charge more than two per cent interest on loans they advance to peasants this year,” he added.

Cooperative and public sector banks usually charge 7 per cent interest on agri loans. Private moneylenders charge much more – between 3 per cent and 5 per cent a month. “If anybody, be it from public sector banks or private moneylender tries to squeeze money out of the farmers, he will be branded a people’s enemy and tried in a people’s court,” Kishenji threatened. These “courts” usually hand out the death penalty to those who defy their writ.

“We will look into the matter and take action if anybody lodges a complaint,” said Manoj Verma, superintendent of police, West Midnapore.

State Bank of India, United Bank, Allahabad Bank, UCO Bank and a few co-operative banks have branches in this district. No bank executive was willing to speak on the issue. They were also unwilling to share data of total loans or farmers who may be impacted. “More than 50 per cent of all loans in the district are advanced by private moneylenders, ” several of them said on condition of anonymity.

Maoists wield considerable influence in 180 of India’s 626 districts, where they have killed more than 300 security personnel this year.

Kishenji claimed that farmers have suffered losses and that “no one is in a position to repay the loans. Since the government did nothing, it was left to us to give relief”.

In a related article, Kishenji announces that the CPI (Maoist) is expanding its organizing of farmers into South Bengal.

Maoists trying to cash in on potato farming crisis (Times of India, December 18, 2009)

KOLKATA: With security forces zeroing in on the Maoist core area in Jangalmahal comprising parts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia, the ultras are busy spreading their network in neighbouring Hoogly and other parts of West Midnapore.

The target is to organise wage labourers and marginal farmers working in potato fields, whose lot did not improve despite spiralling potato prices. At a time when everyone is blaming the market or the futures trading, Maoists are reaching out to the deprived with an immediate solution, the people’s court. Maoist activists are promising that they will drag the middlemen to the people’s court, impose huge fines on the offenders and help the marginal farmers.

Small farmers could not get the best of a good harvest last year. They sold their produce at a much lower price to the middlemen as the crop was badly hit by wart disease.

“We have contacted the farmers in the potato producing areas of South Bengal and told them that CPI (Maoist) will extend their support to them,” said Maoist leader Kishanji, who has been controlling the Maoist insurgency in Lalgarh.

The Maoist leader has also announced drawn up a charter of demands for rehabilitation of the poor farmers. “The government has to waive all agricultural loans that farmers took last year. At the same time the state has to arrange for interest-free loans,” said Kishanji, who also supports other demands of the farmers subsidized rate of fertiliser and potato seeds.

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MAOISTS CELEBRATE OPENLY FOUNDATION ANNIVERSARY OF THE ‘PLGA’

Posted by ajadhind on December 14, 2009

Asian Age, London edition,
Sanjay Basak
New Delhi

Dec. 6th 2009: Throwing a direct challenge to both the Centre and the West Bengal government, the Maoists for the first time openly organised the foundation day of their military unit, People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army, at Jangalmahal in West Midnapore district on December 2. Armed PLGA members cordoned off the entire area to counter any attack from the security forces. The event, attended by locals from 50 adjacent villages, was addressed by two top Maoist leaders on the run who are operating in the region: Kishenji, alias Kotreswar Rao, a CPI(Maoist) politburo and central committee member; and Rakesh, who heads the outfit’s West Bengal-Jharkhand- Orissa border regional committee.

This has come as a major embarrassment to West Bengal’s Left Front government. Red-faced senior police officials have demanded explanations from the police stations in the area, including that at Lalgarh, over their failure to raid the gathering. Sources said that scared local police personnel, who were aware that the Naxals were meeting in the vicinity, had refused to venture anywhere near them. It is learnt that a sea of red flags could be witnessed at Jangalmahal and neighbouring villages with Maoist cadres singing revolutionary songs.

That the Maoists are rapidly gaining control of areas in West Midnapore became evident with the oufit openly announcing both the date and the venue of the celebration in some of their pamphlets.

Kishenji, addressing the gathering, said: “The PLGA soldiers from now onwards will protect farmers in Lalgarh and Jangalmahal. ” His statement, later circulated by the Maoists to local villagers, said: “Our soldiers, with their arms and ammunition, will be on the paddy fields to protect poor tribals…. This step is being taken as the government has refused to accept our proposal and suspend all operations against us.”

The Maoists claimed they had urged the West Bengal government as well as the joint forces to suspend operations against Maoists for at least a fortnight since this was harvesting time. “Since the joint forces and the state administration refused to accept our demand and continued with their operations, which was preventing farmers from harvesting, armed PLGA members will now be provided to protect poor farmers and to counter the joint forces,” the Maoists declared at the foundation day celebrations.

The state administration is, meanwhile, finding it hard to explain why the police failed to act on information. A senior home department official, however, put the onus entirely on the state’s Marxist government, saying the state’s police had been “completely politicised. ” He added that the “attitude of state police personnel in Naxal-dominated areas in Bengal was more (that) of party cadres than policemen.” There were several such instances of the police “simply refusing to move” despite specific information about Maoists gatherings

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The Sankrail episode: The story of the arrested women

Posted by ajadhind on November 2, 2009

Posted by indianvanguard2010 on October 28, 2009

Subharani Baskey in tears outside Midnapore Central Jail. She said she had gone out to see what was happening when police picked her up. (Samir Mondal)

By Partho Sarathi Ray. Oct 27 2009, Sanhati

On 20th October, 2009, Maoists attacked a police station in Sankrail, West Midnapur, West Bengal, taking the O.C. Atindranath Dutta as a prisoner, and demanding the release of fourteen women from police custody. This was a media sensation – the debate centered around whether this defined a hostage situation in India’s heartland, whether this was a repeat of Kandahar, and whether the action is an example of violent turf expansion by the Maoists. Subsequently, the women were released and so was the O.C., who has become somewhat of a media celebrity and, much to the wrath of the Government, not condemnded the Maoists.

What is being hidden under all the media blitz is the story of the fourteen women whose release from police custody was ensured by the Maoists.

These women had all been arrested from in an around Teshabandh village on 3rd September after the 2rd September “encounter” between the combined forces and “Maoists” near Madhupur (there is a previous report on this in Sanhati). The PSBJC had claimed that the encounter was really a firing by the combined forces on a rally of adivasis protesting against the rape of a woman. It had also condemned the arrests of these women from Teshabandh, who were subsequently charged with waging war against the state, as being arrests of innocent people.

A Lalgarh woman who was released on bail in exchange for OC Atindranath Dutta’s freedom weeps on the shoulders of another outside Midnapore Central Jail.

Today their stand has been vindicated. The public prosecutor didn’t oppose their bail plea at the Midnapore court, although the charges against them, which include rioting with deadly weapons, attempt to murder, waging war against the state, raising funds to wage war against the state, sedition and carrying illegal arms, are all non-bailable ones. This is an effective withdrawal of charges.

Now, the media has access to the stories of the women and people know who these “dangerous” people are, whom the Maoists were so intent on getting released from police custody.

One of them is Subharani Baskey, a grandmother of 55-60 (this correspondent knows her personally – she once treated him to a “nona“, a fruit very similar to the custard-apple, just saltier, from her tree). What she has told to the media now is that she was at her home when she heard a commotion outside as the police were arresting the village women. When she went out to enquire, she was arrested for “waging war against the state” and dragged to the Kantapahari police camp.

You can hear the real story from these women, Padmamoni, a mother of two children, Pratima Patra, Sumi Mandi and the others, about what happened that day. When the police had raided their village, alleging that the “Maoists” had taken shelter there, they had stopped whatever chores they were doing and come out and surrounded the police, not letting them enter the village. They were not protecting Maoists, they were protecting themselves, as according to what Pratima Patra has said, the police entering the village means they would go door-to-door, beating up people indiscriminately, breaking furniture and looting household goods.

The Lalgarh women released from jail walk to a bus stop in Midnapore town. Picture by Samir Mondal

Even women from surrounding villages, such as Sumi Mandi, joined them when the news about the raid spread, as is the standard practice in Lalgarh. All these women were arrested, beaten up brutally and taken to the Kantapahari police station where there were charged with the above-mentioned crimes. On the way back to Kantapahari, the police also arrested Ramdulal Mandi, who was walking towards Kantapahari bazar, and charged him with the same crimes. He was also released yesterday. This constant arrests and charging with false cases is the daily reality which Chidambaram- Buddhadeb has imposed in Lalgarh, and now wants to impose on the rest of the adivasi-populated region.

The other thing that we should understand about the reality in Lalgarh is that the adivasis think that the Maoists are their last resort, when everything else fails to protect them from exploitation and oppression, the Maoists are there. This is repeated by hundreds of adivasis when you talk to them, who express their confidence on the “bon-er party“, the “party of the jungles”. This confidence has now been reinforced by this action of the Maoists, where they have ensured the release of these innocent women, rather than their own party cadre, in exchange of the captured O.C.

Moreover, the action of the state which has consistently refused to release these women, and other innocent people who have been arrested in Lalgarh over the past four months, inspite of peaceful protests and demonstrations by the PSBJC and the civil society in Kolkata, but has bowed to the armed might of the Maoists, will further reinforce the idea that it is only a certain language that the state understands, and takes heed of.

 

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Chhatradhar Mahato held

Posted by ajadhind on September 27, 2009

source – hindu
KOLKATA: Chhatradhar Mahato, convener of the Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee, was arrested in an operation conducted by the West Bengal police at Birkar village near Lalgarh in West Bengal’s Paschim Medinipur district on Saturday.
He was arrested by policemen who posed as journalists, according to eye witness accounts. The government, however, was tight-lipped, saying it was awaiting details.
Claiming to represent the tribal people, Mr. Mahato launched on November 2 last a “people’s movement” to protest against alleged police atrocities in Lalgarh which followed an IED blast targeting the convoy of West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee at Salboni.
Aware of the regular communication between Mr. Mahato and a section of the local journalists, two plainclothesmen befriended two local reporters posing as journalists and reached Mr. Mahato’s hideout. “Big success”
District Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar Verma told reporters at Midnapore that Mr. Mahato’s arrest was a “big success” for the police. The police were trying to arrest Mr. Mahato for quite some time now. More than 15 cases were pending against him.
The arrest could spark fresh agitations by the tribal people in the Jangalmahal (forested land) with Maoists’ backing.
Kishanji, Polit Bureau member of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), told The Hindu: “Unless Chhatradhar Mahato is released unconditionally, the entire Jangalmahal in five States [West Bengal, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Bihar] will be up in flames.” Immediately after Mr. Mahato’s arrest, a landmine went off near Kantapahari (seven km from Lalgarh) and another failed to explode at Kumarbandh.
Mr. Verma said none was injured. Six persons were arrested in connection with the incidents, four of them suspected Maoists.
The arrest is a major boost to the morale of the State government and the police in their fight against the Maoists and the Maoist-backed PSBJC. Home secretary Ardhendu Sen had said in August that the joint operation launched by the security forces at Lalgarh on June 18 to flush out the rebels was “partially successful.”

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