The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Under fire, People’s War takes back talks offer

Calcutta, Sept. 4: Scathed by a tough police campaign, the People’s War has withdrawn its offer of talks with the government, citing “police attacks” and “murderous politics” unleashed by armed CPM gangs. Yesterday, four suspected Naxalites were picked up from a Murshidabad village.

In a statement here today, People’s War state secretary Somen said it was not his outfit’s policy to annihilate individuals as both CPM state secretary Anil Biswas and chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee have repeatedly stated.

“In fact, it is the reverse. The government, under Buddhadeb or Siddhartha (Ray), wishes to prevent the revolution by annihilating its leaders,” the statement said. His outfit was “only defending itself and developing resistance to state terrorism”, Somen said.

He claimed that the CPM leaders were afraid of facing the People’s War politically.

The statement came on a day police said a fresh hit-list of six CPM local leaders was put up on the wall of a primary school at Ausgram in Burdwan, allegedly by the People’s War.

The People’s War statement also condemned the “killing of Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) cadre in the name of police encounters”.

The group reacted sharply to the arrest of Abhijit Kundu, a Calcutta-based lawyer, from the Baripada court premises during a joint raid by the Orissa and Bengal police last week. “Kundu was arrested to create terror among lawyers taking up our cases,” Somen’s statement said.

Panic gripped Moukhira village in Ausgram following the appearance of the poster, claiming six local CPM leaders would be “eliminated”. Kabilal Mandi, deputy chairman of the Burdwan zilla parishad, Achintya Majumdar, Guskara zonal committee secretary, Debi Sinha, Ausgram II local committee secretary, Aan-e-Alam, zilla parishad member, and party workers Babu Singha and Ramu Thete were named on the list that was put up yesterday.

A huge police force with sniffer dogs has been deployed in the area and the targeted persons have been provided security. Faced with the predicament, the district CPM convened a special sitting of its district committee today.

Inspector-general of police (western range) Jit Ram Bhagat said police were probing whether the People’s War was behind the poster.

“We have reports of a group of eight armed persons roaming the forests of Aduria. We have informed the police, but no one has been apprehended,” said Sridhar Malik, CPM Burdwan committee member.

As part of its crackdown on Naxalites, the police rounded up four alleged People’s War activists from a village in the Nowda police station area of Murshidabad last night. They have been remanded in police custody for two days by the sub-divisional judicial magistrate.

“We arrested the four based on information provided by Shampa Dasgupta, the People’s War leader who was arrested on August 10,” said additional superintendent of police, Shankar Singh.

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