Midnapore, Sept. 22: The district police have admitted that a string of arrests throughout September has not been been able to slow the Peoples’ War down.
The Naxalite outfit is even planning to recruit new faces and set up a guerrilla zone along the Bengal-Orissa-Bihar border.
The revelation came during the interrogation of five arrested members of the outfit. They confessed that the group had set up camps and stepped up activities in Belpahari, Lalgarh and Salboni police station areas, police sources said.
“They have put up posters inviting people to join the group and organise an armed protest against CPM and police atrocities. They have enlisted the names and displayed photographs of the 11 PW activists from Jharkhand who were lynched by the public. The posters declare their intention of avenging the death of these ‘martyrs’. They have also named a few local CPM leaders who are allegedly involved in the killings,” said superintendent of police K.L. Mina.
“This month, we arrested five persons from Belpahari and Simulpal, including Mangal Mura, who was involved in the killing of five senior CPM leaders of Jharkhand some time ago. We then arrested a sixth person, Susil Mahato, on Sunday from Lalgeria in the Salboni police station area and recovered two rifles and 10 rounds of ammunition. We are now pretty sure that they are recruiting people and storing sophisticated firearms to promote their struggle,” Mina added.
The Bandi Mukti Committee, a local body, has alleged that the police are ill-treating undertrials and are making arrests without any valid evidence. “Most of the arrests that are being made here are based on false charges. These people are innocent... but the police are forcing them to confess by torturing them,” alleged a member of the committee.
The police have beefed up security in the bordering areas of the district and have intensified raids.
Sunday’s attacks in Nishigung in Cooch Behar, suspected to have been triggered by the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation, was an eye-opener for the authorities, who have decided to take strict measures against the rebels and their supporters.
The militants allegedly abducted a merchant and escaped after killing three persons on the spot and seriously injuring five, one of whom succumbed to injuries in hospital.
Asked about the People’s War’s links with groups in north Bengal, Mina said: “We have received information that a few persons from Siliguri attended a meeting in the district. I must also mention that PW activists like Sadhan Ahir and Sanjay Mandi, who are at present serving a jail sentence, had also participated in several meetings organised by Naxalite groups of north Bengal. So we cannot completely do away with the possibility, but we have not been able to establish the link.”