Tuesday, June 30, 2009

2 more Maoists' charged under UAPA

30 Jun 2009, 0412 hrs IST, TNN

BANKURA/KOLKATA: The Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government seems determined to continue with arrests under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act
(UAPA) despite strong opposition from Left Front partners. Five days after police booked CPI(Maoist) spokesperson Gour Chakrabarty under UAPA, the Act was invoked yet again on Monday against Kanchan Murmu and Gopinath Murmu the two suspected Maoists arrested from Sarenga on Sunday morning.

The chief minister has come under flak from many of his Cabinet colleagues and Front partners for implementing the UAPA in Bengal. Bhattacharjee had assured them that he was not giving police a free hand to use the central Act. "Police cannot invoke UAPA at random. No arrests will be made till I am convinced. They have to get a go ahead from the state home secretary," the CM said, sending out clear signals that the central Act was very much alive in the state, but that the government would apply it cautiously.

The Left allies may be crying foul but CPM mandarins in Alimuddin Street are strongly backing the CM in this regard even though Left Front chairman Biman Bose told the media the other day that the Front was opposed to banning the Maoist outfit in Bengal.

PWD minister Kshiti Goswami who has been vocal in the criticism of the government's stand on UAPA pointed to this mismatch between the Left Front and government in the core committee meeting on Monday. "There are some grey areas over the implementation of the central Act. How could the government enforce the Act when the Left Front is opposed to it? Why was Gour Chakrabarty booked under the UAPA?" Goswami asked.

The CM tried to argue that Chakrabarty was an exception. "The government has arrested as many as 22 Maoists but they have all been booked under several sections of IPC. Gour Chakrabarty is the only one to have been arrested under UAPA. This is a central Act, though we have a role to play in its implementation," Bhattacharjee explained.

While the Front ministers were debating the pros and cons of the Act, they had no clue that in the Khatra subdivisional court, UAPA was being used a second time against Kanchan Murmu and Gopinath Murmu who were found lurking behind a bush near Belpal forest. Apart from UAPA, they have been booked under several charges under the Arms Act and Explosives Act and remanded in police custody till July 12.

The CM is happy with the Lalgarh operation, particularly over the way security forces conducted it without any deaths. "No casualty has been reported as yet. The combined forces have liberated Lalgarh to a large extent. Initially, the villagers did not dare to come out, fearing a Maoist backlash. Now, they are overcoming this fear. Armed Maoists have been purged. Most of them have fled to Jharkhand. Police will be there till villagers return to a normal life," the CM said in the ministerial core committee meeting.

In the Khatra subdivisional court, public prosecutor A Rahman submitted that police seized one US-made automatic revolver, a steel container packed with 5 kg of very powerful explosives, a wire and a flashgun from Kanchan and Gopinath Murmu. Police on Monday made three more arrests Ajit Mahato and Sujit Mahato of Boro Pelia under Lalgarh police station and Gautam Pal of Majuia village under Kotulpur police station.

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