Purulia, June 30: Eleven Maoist Communist Centre activists surrendered at the district court here today. Five were remanded in police custody.
Eight of them were named in an FIR lodged after MCC cadre attacked a landlord at Bansgarh in Jhalda on November 26 last year. The attack, in which Jagadish Tiwary was beheaded and his property looted and ransacked, was the first overt action by an extremist organisation in the district.
After a six-month lull during which MCC activity was limited to pasting posters and occasionally distributing leaflets, the outfit triggered an explosion on June 6 in Bansgarh. This was the first time extremists used an improvised explosive device in south Bengal with police as the target.
The police said the activists arrived in Purulia on June 21 and tried to negotiate their surrender. “We were able to get the custody of five key men in the group today and shall be interrogating them,” superintendent of police V.K. Goyal said.
He said the activists surrendered unconditionally. Asked why they had surrendered, Goyal said Bengal and Jharkhand police had been pressuring the rebels. “We carried out repeated raids on villages in Jhalda I and II blocks. We also got co-operation from our counterparts in Bokaro. The rebels had been on the run since Tiwary’s murder.”
Among those who surrendered was key accused Narayan Mahato of Jharkhand’s Ara Sharan village. “He chopped off the landlord’s head,” a police officer said.
Most other activists who surrendered were from Joridih in Jharkand’s Bokaro district. They included Rajaram Besra, Sahakiya Mahato, Gurupada Mahato, Bishnu, Asoda, Udna and Basudeb Majhi among others. All rebels were between 25 and 35.
The attack had the support of villagers from Jharkhand, 2 km from Tiwary’s house. He had allegedly not been paying them properly and felling trees.