Midnapore, Oct. 25: Twenty-five CPM activists are missing in the Jungle Mahal area of West Midnapore in the past fortnight with the party and police claiming they have been kidnapped and murdered by Maoists.
The police said local CPM leaders had told them that the rebels had either buried the bodies or dumped them deep inside jungles.
However, the police’s investigation has been hamstrung because in most cases, the family members of those abducted have not lodged complaints.
“CPM leaders have told us that the family members are too scared to lodge a complaint because they feel the Maoists might target them if they approach us,” a police officer said.
Jhargram superintendent of police Praveen Tripathi said: “We have started an investigation but the absence of complaints is hampering the probe. We are sure Maoists have abducted the CPM workers and killed them to eliminate evidence and avoid adverse public opinion. We have assigned an inspector to investigate the cases.”
The latest of the “abductions” happened last evening.
Two CPM supporters, Sheikh Haider and Sheikh Jamshed, were having dinner at their homes in Jhargram’s Naranpara when they were taken away by suspected Maoists.
“Fifteen armed rebels kidnapped them. There has been no trace of the duo since then,” said Dahareswar Sen, a CPM district secretariat member.
On the evening of October 19, CPM supporter Apu Mahato, 24, a resident of Pukuria, 14km from Jhargram town, went missing on his way home form a soiree at the village.
“There is still no news of my son, a labourer. The venue of the soiree is about 500 metres from our home,” said Apu’s father Dhiren Mahato, who has lodged a missing persons diary.
On October 20, Debashis Maity, 40, the secretary of the CPM’s Lodhashuli branch committee, was called out of his garment shop in the village market by an unidentified person. He has been missing since then.
The next day, CPM supporters Sukumar Parihari and his brother Subho, both in their forties, were dragged out of their home in Patashimul village, 20km from Jhargram town, by suspected Maoists.
“At least 25 of our supporters and workers have disappeared in the past fortnight. We have requested the police not to wait for complaints but to go to the villages of those abducted and record the statements of their family members,” CPM leader Sen said.
Prasanta Das, the secretary of the CPM’s Aguiboni local committee, said most of the villages where abductions had taken place were within 20km of Jhargram town.
“Even the chief of the Aguiboni gram panchayat, Bankim Mahato, has been missing since October 9. On the same day, two other party workers, Akul Mahato and Khagen Mahato, were picked up from their homes in Aguiboni (14km from Jhargram town). There has been no news of them since then,” Das said.
Krishna Prasad Duley, the CPM MLA from Garbeta (West), said two party supporters, including a woman, had disappeared from Lalgarh and Salboni recently.