|Some of the arms dug up in Enayetpur on Wednesday; the CPM office that was the site of an encounter between cadres and Maoists in 2009. The arms were dug up on Wednesday 300 metres from the building. Picture by Samir Mondal
Midnapore, March 13: Police today dug up 70 guns from a Jungle Mahal pocket where the CPM had put up its first organised resistance against the Maoists. The haul came hours after villagers complained that some unidentified people were “looking for something”.
Mamata Banerjee, whose government had conducted several raids in Jungle Mahal and seized arms and ammunition immediately after coming to power in 2011, blamed the Left Front for piling arms.
West Midnapore police chief Sunil Chowdhury said: “We have recovered 70 single-barrel improvised guns from Enayetpur. We are conducting a search in the neighbourhood to find out if there are more. We are probing how the guns were buried in the village.”
Another police officer said the guns appeared to have been buried a long time ago as they had become rusty.
The arms were found about 300 metres from the now-deserted CPM office in Enayetpur, the site of an encounter between Maoists and CPM cadres in September 2009.
The cadres had fortified the party office, where armed CPM men were camping for days, with sandbags. The encounter, which took place in the building and the forest nearby, had claimed the lives of 10 CPM cadres, according to slain Maoist leader Kishan.
Tapan Jana, a resident of Enayetpur that is now a Trinamul stronghold, said that 10 last night, villagers woke up to the sound of barking dogs.
“We saw some people looking for something with the help of torchlights. When we confronted them, they ran towards the forest bordering our village. We chased them but could not catch them. We informed the police this morning,” said Jana, a farmer.
Around seven this morning, 100 joint forces personnel, accompanied by two sniffer dogs, cordoned off Enayetpur and launched a search.
Addressing a meeting at Chalsa in Jalpaiguri today, Mamata described burying of arms as “Left Front’s legacy”.
“I keep saying, the Left Front’s legacy after 34 years can be summed up in a sentence — mati khurlei khuli, jama khullei bukey guli (dig the earth and you will find skulls, take off a shirt and you will find a bullet mark on the chest),” the chief minister said.
CPM West Midnapore secretariat member Satyen Maity said: “There is no question of CPM cadres visiting the village at night. We don’t know who kept the guns there.”