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Secret meetings to counter Maoists
- Eight-point CPM strategy focuses on night rendezvous and village festivals

West Midnapore, Sept. 10: The district CPM leadership, which faces regular threats from Maoists, has decided to hold secret meetings and has adopted an eight-point strategy to counter them in Banspahari, Belpahari and Shilda blocks under Binpur Assembly constituency.

'We discussed at length steps to counter the recent threats from the Maoists. As part of the move, we may have to carry on our activities quietly. For this, we have to motivate those comrades who have become inactive these days,' Dahareswar Sen, a CPM district secretariat member, said today.

A plan to increase political activities by involving common people in large numbers was adopted at a meeting on August 30 at Belpahari, 200 km from Calcutta.

Sen pointed out that the party had wrested the Binpur Assembly seat from the Jharkhand Party in 2001, but extremists have consolidated their base in the area over the years. 'Against this backdrop, we must adopt certain policies that may help us combat them,' he said.

Party leaders admitted that CPM members have been passing sleepless nights. They confirmed that four CPM members, including the Belpahari local committee secretary, Sudhir Singh Sardar, were murdered during the last three years. The Maoists have also prepared a hit list of seven party leaders. 'We are apprehensive of surprise attacks from the ultra-Left any moment,' said a CPM leader.

The strategy discussed at the August 30 meeting to counter the Maoists involves CPM leaders conveying information on programmes and meetings through key members and party leaders secretly assembling at village festivals and using them as a forum for discussing party programmes. Local members are also to attend family functions in large numbers to discuss programmes with those present.

Meetings should be convened at night and party leaders must ensure the better participation of villagers, according to the strategy.

Party leaders must also ensure that tribals are not exploited by intermediaries who purchase sal and kendu leaves in bulk from them at a low price and supply them to Calcutta markets. CPM workers are also to approach tribals with specific development projects that can benefit them.

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