Calcutta, Sept. 13: Arrested Maoist leader Avishek Mukherjee had been assigned the task of motivating Calcutta University students to join the rebel outfit, the Special Task Force (STF) has learnt after interrogating him.
Mukherjee, the secretary of the Calcutta district committee of the CPI (Maoist), was asked to indoctrinate students in the city and send “fresh faces” to Lalgarh to take part in anti-government activities in the aftermath of the setbacks the rebels had suffered in Jungle Mahal, the STF has learnt.
An STF officer said: “The CPI (Maoist) has a number of sympathisers in Jadavpur University and is now trying to spread its support base to other institutions such as Calcutta University. Mukherjee was given the task of motivating students to join the outfit.”
Mukherjee, 31, and two other CPI (Maoist) members were arrested from the Tallah area in north Calcutta on Tuesday night.
Mukherjee, who had studied international relations at Jadavpur University and is proficient in several languages, was close to slain guerrilla leader Kishan.
STF sources said the rebel outfit needed active workers after the deaths and arrests of key members. “The Maoists are targeting educational institutions because they want to motivate students to become future leaders of the outfit,” another STF officer said.
The police said Mukherjee had told them that he left Jungle Mahal three months before Kishan was gunned down in a forest near Jhargram in November last year.
“Mukherjee had spent considerable time in Lalgarh and its adjoining areas during the Maoist movement. He knew the police were after him. He used to stay in the homes of sympathisers in north Calcutta. He visited Nonadanga several times to organise demonstrations by illegal settlers during the government’s eviction drive in March-April,” an officer said.
The police said documents, mostly letters from leaders of the outfit, seized from Mukherjee had revealed that he was in regular touch with members of the CPI (Maoist) state committee.
An officer said the police would seek the home department’s permission to book Mukherjee under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
The police can keep an accused in custody for up to 30 days under the law against 14 days in other cases.