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Naxalites foray into deep south

Dec. 3: After making its presence felt in Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore, dreaded Naxalite outfit People’s War is making inroads in Hooghly and Nadia districts.

Police reached the conclusion after the arrests of nine suspected PW activists — six from Nadia and three from Hooghly — over the past fortnight and recovery of propaganda pamphlets.

Three more suspected Naxalites were arrested last night from the Khas jungle of Lalgarh in West Midnapore.

Bengal’s concern over the growing Naxalite menace is shared by neighbours Bihar and Orissa, also dogged by violence perpetrated by the PW and the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC), who are keen to coordinate with Bengal police for a crackdown.

Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik told reporters at Kharagpur, where he had come to attend a programme of the Indian Academy of Social Sciences, that the states experiencing a spurt in Naxalite activities should coordinate closely and share intelligence. As the problem involves a number of states, help was also needed from the Centre to root out the menace, he added.

“PW activities have taken a serious shape in several states. So we need to have a sound intelligence network about their movement and the inter-state corridors they use. We are taking steps to take up the matter with our neighbouring states so that we can share our intelligence and move as one force. The problem involves a number of states and assistance from the Centre is required to address it,” said Patnaik.

Naxalites were active in Nadia in the 1960s and 1970s, but with the six arrests — three from Nakashipara and three from Chapra — police believe the radicals are again trying to set up base in the district. A CPI-ML front, the Majdur Krishak Sangram Samity, has claimed that the arrested persons belong to it, raising suspicion that the organisation has links with the Naxalites.

Leaflets and other incriminating published material were found during raids at Badbillo, Durgapur and Padma villages in the Nakashipara police station area. The police also seized tabloids published from Rishra in Hooghly that contain “inflammatory” articles against the police.

“After interrogating the six persons and scrutiny of the documents, we came to know that various police installations were targets of their attack,” said Benoy Chakraborty, Nadia police superintendent.

In Hooghly, the police have identified the Jangipara police station area as the centre of PW activities in the district. Presence of Naxalites has also been reported from other areas like Goghat, Khanakul, Chanditala and Dadpur.

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