Villagers block the road to Jhargram with trees on Wednesday night. Picture by Amit Datta
Midnapore, Nov. 12: Maoists today threatened an armed resistance in West Midnapore’s Lalgarh where tribals have been protesting police raids and detentions following a blast that missed the chief minister by minutes.
CPI (Maoist) state secretary Kanchan said: “We are with the people of Lalgarh. Our guerrilla squad is with them to build an armed resistance. I appeal to the Lalgarh people to follow the Nandigram path by setting up road blocks and snapping electricity and telephone connections to teach the CPM and police a lesson.”
Villagers armed with bows and arrows tonight placed at least 30 trees at various points on the road that branches off NH 6 and leads to Jhargram town. They also blocked the road connecting Jhargram with Jamboni. “They are trying to cut off the town,” a police officer said.
The road to Jhargram from Midnapore town had not been touched till late tonight.
In East Midnapore’s Nandigram, villagers led by the Trinamul Congress and all- egedly aided by Maoists had created a similar island of unrest, cut-off from the administration.
In Jhargram, the villagers wrote on the road: “The police have to explain why innocent villagers were arrested on suspicion of being Maoists.”
Tribal youths continued to obstruct the state highway connecting Midnapore town with Bandwan in Purulia.
“The Maoists have been instigating the villagers. We have got some vital information after questioning three persons picked up from Binpur and Jamboni on November 6,” said West Midnapore police chief R.K. Singh. He declined comment when asked why the intelligence branch had failed to tip off the administration about Maoist activities.
Armed policemen had pounced on schoolchildren returning from a soiree and tried to link them with the rebels while probing the blast at Salboni that hit a car in Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan’s convoy on November 2. Women were allegedly beaten up during the raids that followed.
District magistrate N.S. Nigam said the allegations of police misconduct would be probed. “I appeal to the agitating villagers to return home and let us redress their grievances through talks,” he said.