Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Pro-rebel outfit snaps Chakulia lifeline

Pro-rebel outfit snaps Chakulia lifeline
KUMUD JENAMANI

Villagers use cycles to travel to the market in the absence of trekkers and buses between Belpahari and Chakulia on Monday. Picture by Srinivas
Chakulia, June 8: The Police-Santrash Pratirodh Samiti, a pro-Naxalite outfit, today blocked roads to protest against the arrest of nine suspected rebels by the Jharkhand police.

Protesters felled trees and dug up roads at Belpahari, Lalgarh, Lodhasole and Beltalla in Jhargram sub-division of West Midnapore, Bengal, striking terror in the hearts of residents in neighbouring areas.

The demonstration continued till late afternoon affecting traffic movement between Chakulia and Bengal.

The samiti, an offshoot of CPI(Maoist), had declared that it would not allow anyone from Jharkhand to enter Bengal from today. The blockade not only achieved their purpose but also cut off communication to Ghatshila and Dhalbhumgarh.

Although the desperate activities were carried out in localities bordering Bengal, they left a rippling effect on Chakulia, where residents remained apprehensive.

“Though I am a resident of Chakulia, I often have to travel to Belpahadi in Bengal for business,” said Banmali Mahto.

Many others who worked in areas like Belpahadi and Silda in the Jhargram sub-division were worried about returning home if communication between Chakulia and Bengal was snapped.

Narendra Shah, a local resident, said they would suffer most if the samiti members went on agitating.

“We have to frequently travel between Chakulia and Jhargram, not only for meeting relatives but also for business,” Shah told The Telegraph.

Traffic between Chakulia and Belpahadi was very thin.

A few trekkers and pick-up vans plied on the Chakulia-Belpahadi and Chakulia-Silda roads. Officials said that as the Bengal administration had taken precautionary measures against the samiti’s threat of a roadblock, the protesters could not cause much damage.

East Singhbhum superintendent of police Naveen Kumar Singh said that they are monitoring the situation and would take necessary steps as and when required in co-operation with Bengal police.

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