Monday, July 20, 2009

19 CPM men forced to quit

TNN 20 July 2009, 05:23am IST

LALGARH: In a bid to wipe out the CPM from Jangalkhand, Maoists in Lalgarh forced 19 CPM activists to quit the party on Sunday.

Soon after announcing that the 19 CPM men have voluntarily quit their party, the People's Committe against Police Atrocities (PCPA) took out a huge rally near Dharampur. Several Maoists, too, took part in the procession. Interestingly, hundreds of policemen and paramilitary personnel have been camping in the area for the past few weeks.

Those who were forced to quit CPM on Sunday included Suman Singh, the pradhan of Baita gram panchayat in Lalgarh, and Pritam Mullick, CPM leader and upa-pradahan of Manikpara panchayat in Jhargram block. They promised not to keep in touch with their comrades. Mullick's name was there on the list of nine CPM leaders whom the Maoists had threatened to behead unless they quit the party.

A few days ago, at a "peoples' court", the Maoists had issued the death sentence to the nine CPM members. On Saturday evening, CPM leader Jaladhar Mahato was gunned down near Kendusole forest, barely 7 km from Jhargram.

The surprise attack in the CPM bastion where Maoists did not have a strong presence, has severely rattled local partymen. The daring attack forced Mahato's colleagues to distance themselves from the ruling party. Mullick and his two colleagues in Manikpara panchayat Shibsankar Dalui and Bidyut Mahato have also followed on Mullick's footsteps.

All three have resigned from panchayat which will change the power equation of the village unit. "CPM won six seats while the remaining four are held by Trinamool candidates. After these resignations, Trinamool has a majority in the panchayat," said a villager.

The Maoist blow on the ruling party continues in Dharampur. More than 15 CPM members have chosen to compromise with the rebels for survival. Ava Maity, the CPM panchayat pradhan of Dharampur, returned home after a month after expressing her wish to resign. Niranjan Singh, an influential local committee member from the same area, also quit CPM.

The rebels have also instructed a whitewash of all wall writings that bear CPM slogans to literally wipe out CPM's presence from the area.

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