Saturday, October 15, 2005

WEST BENGAL : Maoist buzz keeps govt on toes

A STAFF REPORTER

Calcutta, Oct. 15: Intelligence Branch (IB) officers have apparently informed the Bengal government that two top-level Maoists from Nepal, who are explosives experts, have sneaked into the state and are hiding in the forests of Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore with other members of the organisation.

The rebels had recently blown up a police camp under construction at Bandwan in Purulia and killed a CPM branch committee member in Nadia.

Officials at Writers’ Buildings said chief secretary Amit Kiran Deb would visit the trouble-torn districts in the wake of intelligence reports that the extremists might strike again. The spurt in Maoist activities also figured in this week’s conference of directors-general of police held in Delhi.

An IB officer said the duo from Nepal is training local Maoists to handle explosives. “They are being told about the latest devices. We have seen that the Maoists’ style of triggering explosions changes fast.”

In West Midnapore, the administration has introduced bicycle patrolling to “develop a good relationship with villagers”, besides keeping track of the rebels. “If we can earn the villagers’ confidence, the battle against the extremists will be half won,” police officials said.

“Now the policemen are searching the jungles leaving behind their cycles in the villages. That we can do so proves that we are gaining the local people’s trust,” said an officer of West Midnapore district.

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