Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Maoists piling up weapons in forest areas

TNN 22 August 2009, 03:46am IST

MIDNAPORE/KOLKATA: Maoists are piling up arms in the forests of Lakshmanpur and Tarki, about 6 km from Lalgarh, close to the Jhitka forests. This
fact came to light during the interrogation of four suspected Maoists arrested from Lalgargh's backyard, Jhitka, on Thursday evening. Police confiscated pipeguns, cartridges and gelatine rolls from the accused. They were produced in the Jhargram court on Friday.

The arrests have confirmed once again that outsiders such as Subal Murmu, now in police remand, had come all the way from Gajole in Malda to Jangalmahal, apparently for the Maoist cause.

The arrested persons Lakshmikanta Mahato, Jagadish Mahato, Tarun Mahato and Subal Murmu claimed that they were going to fetch emergency medicines for Lakshmi's pregnant sister-in-law, Mamata. Around 100 villagers walked up to Pirakata police station in Salboni to stage a dharna on Friday morning, but were chased away by police.

According to police, the accused said during interrogation that they knew Maoist leaders Bikash and Kishanji. The recent arrests have thus come as a boost to security forces, who were dissatisfied with futile operations.

Home secretary Ardhendu Sen tried to boost the forces' morale on Friday during his visit to Midnapore Correctional Home. "It is true that we have not been able to stop Maoist killings and violence in the area. We could have done better had the adjoining states taken up similar operations in a coordinated manner. We will send our proposal to the Union home ministry," Sen said.

On the demand of 54 Maoist undertrials who are on a hunger strike in jails to withdraw security forces, Sen said it was not possible. In Kolkata, Lalgarh Mancha activists, led by Sujato Bhadra, raised a similar demand.

"The inspector-general will talk to the undertrials and request them to call off the agitation. Security forces will stay till the operations are over," the home secretary said before taking stock of the Lalgarh situation with senior police officials.

Probably getting a tip-off from the arrested, the home secretary ruled out the media's contention that CPI (Maoist) military strategist Kishanji was having a field day in the area. "Kishanji is meeting the press secretly. We have detected the place and will arrest him," Sen said, rubbishing Kishanji's claim that the villagers were with the Maoists.

The PCPA relaxed the indefinite bandh in West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia for two hours.

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