Thursday, June 18, 2009

Lalgarh revolt grows, AP Maoist is plotter

June 18th, 2009
By Our Correspondent

June 17: Lalgarh, which has been a CPI(M) bastion for almost 30 years, continued to burn on Wednesday as the much-awaited Central forces were unable to flush armed Maoist cadres out of the so-called “liberated zone” in West Midnapore district of West Bengal.

Mobs allegedly led by Maoists went on a killing spree in neighbouring Jhargram, killing three CPI(M) cadres. The West Bengal Chief Minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattcharjee, is expected to discuss the situation with the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, on Friday, even as the state received several companies of Central forces.

It has emerged that Mallojula Koteswara Rao, a Maoist top gun from the state, masterminded the uprising in Lalgarh violence, AP police officials said. Rao, who is incharge of party affairs in West Bengal, also a member of the central committee of the Maoists. Sources in the state intelligence department said that Rao is known for building the movement from the grassroot level.

A senior IPS official of the state police said, “The Lalgarh incident shows that Maoists are going for positional war (occupying an area for prolonged periods) instead of guerrilla warfare. We are seeing the participation of a large number of militias is for the first time in Maoist history.” The officer said this was a
characteristic feature of the erstwhile Maoist Communist Centre. In Chhattisgarh and Orissa, militia attacks ended in a few hours after the Maoists looted arms or food supplies. “Holding an area for longer period like this is definitely alarming,” he said.

Rao is said to have masterminded the landmine attack on the convoy in November 2008 in which the West Bengal Chief Minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, and the then Union minister, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, had a narrow escape.

West Bengal has requested state government for the support of Greyhounds to take on the Maoists. The West Bengal chief secretary, Mr Amit Kiran Deb, has asked for the support of the Greyhound forces apart from central paramilitary forces.
But the state police is in no mood to send the Greyhounds after their bitter experience of losing 36 Greyhounds personnel in the Balimela reservoir attack in Orissa last year.

“The option of sending Greyhounds to West Bengal is closed. We don’t know the terrain of the place. The support of local police and a local information network is very important,” a senior intelligence official said.
“It can be difficult for Bengal police to understand the functioning of Greyhounds. When 50,000 tribals are attacking (the police), what can the Greyhounds do,” he said.

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