Kolkata: After four seperate incidents linked to Maoist involvement were reported, the state administration is now looking at a resurgence in the tribal belts of Jhargram district. The incidents have sent worrying signals to the state administration about the threats looming large in not so distant future.
In a recent incident, mobile phones of tourists were snatched. Three tourists exploring the forests of Dhangikusum area of Belpahari in Jhargram district of West Bengal on Thursday came face to face with armed Maoists. As many as seven armed Maoists, snatched their mobile phones and let off the tourists. They were neither hurt nor did any Maoist misbehave with them, they went back to Kharagpur and filed a complaint with the police. Later, Jhargram police contacted the trio and asked them to share more details.
This incident has sent shock waves in the police administration as this is first such incident of snatching by Maoists in broad day light in a span of nine years.
On August 27, 2020, some unidentified persons opened fire at the residence of one Bidyut Das. In a bid to save her life, Bidyut's wife Mira Das who was on the roof of the house at the time of firing, injured herself when she jumped off. The unidentified persons fled from the Pochapani village of Jhargram district of West Bengal - a few kilometres away from Jharkhand border - in the dark.
Jhargram district is the area of operation of last Maoist squad of Bengal based out of Jharkhand led by Ashim Mondal alias Akash.
Letters by CPI(Maoists) were sent to three individuals residing in Belpahari area of Jhargram district on July 27, 2020, according to the villagers. The three individuals who received the letter have been identified as Bidyut Das - a cooking gas dealer, Tarun Mondal - a Primary School teacher and Sushil Mondal - a local grocery store owner.
The letter which was reportedly sent at the behest of CPI(Maoist) squad member Madan Mahato demanded a ransom, as claimed by the villagers. Several posters were also pasted outside their houses warning them that they must pay the amount by July 29, 2020 else face consequences. However, all three individuals refrained from paying the ransom.
It is noteworthy to mention, just weeks ago, on August 16, a day after Independence day, as many as 10-12 handwritten Maoist posters urging villagers to observe Independence Day as ‘Kala Divas’ surfaced at several villages of the same Jhargram district.
Officers in central intelligence agencies said that activities of the armed squad led by state secretary Akash have recently increased in the villages along Bengal-Jharkhand border in the districts of Jhargram and Purulia in West Bengal.
This squad, which comprises between 20 and 25 guerrillas, have some new recruits - young members who have joined the squad in the last 3-4 years was based in the forests of Jharkhand over the past five years but have been spotted along the Bengal-bordering villages of Jharkhand several times over the past couple of months.
Nearly nine years since Maoist top gun Mallojula Koteswar Rao alias Kishenji was killed in West Bengal, the red rebels are making a comeback into the state’s forested districts bordering Jharkhand.
Over the past month, there are reports of Maoists sneaking in West Bengal, making campaigns in areas of Jhargram and Purulia districts and going back to Jharkhand