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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 23 April 2024

Cops on alert after printed ‘Maoist’ posters surface in Purulia villages

This is the second time in a week that such incidents came to the notice in the district

Snehamoy Chakraborty Published 05.03.22, 03:16 AM
A group of villagers crowds around a printed poster, purportedly by Maoists, at Purulia’s Arsha on Friday morning.

A group of villagers crowds around a printed poster, purportedly by Maoists, at Purulia’s Arsha on Friday morning. Purnabh Mahato

Police on Friday recovered at least a dozen printed posters put up by suspected Maoists in several villages of Purulia’s Arsha in which they threatened to launch a movement in the four Jungle Mahal districts on their 13-point charter of demands.

This is the second time in a week that such alleged Maoist posters were recovered from Purulia. On February 28, alleged Maoist posters — handwritten ones — had called for a strike in Jungle Mahal on March 1. The strike, however, had no major impact.

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“We will start a movement with our 13-point charter of demand to both the central and state governments. If our demands are not fulfilled, we would be forced to start our movement,” a printed poster found on Friday read.

Police sources said the recovery of such posters has increased in the past two months in Jungle Mahal districts, mainly Purulia, parts of Jhargram and West Midnapore.

The posters have put cops on alert. Probe is on to assess if Maoists are regrouping in Jungle Mahal.

Police sources said incidents of recovery of suspected Maoist posters increased after nine CRPF companies out of the existing 24 were withdrawn from Jungle Mahal for their deployment in the five states where Assembly elections are being held.

Local residents in Arsha said printed posters by suspected Maoists reappeared in their area after over a decade.

A large number of people in villages like Jarimore, Dungridih, Sindurpur of Arsha police station area were seen reading the posters.

The posters demanded guaranteed jobs for 365 days a year instead of 100 days’ work, cutting down fuel and LPG prices, stopping deforestation, putting a halt to the practice of luring Maoists with state government jobs and providing land deeds to tribal people who have lived in the forests for generations.

“The demands in the posters are related to local issues. Maoists generally try to boost its organisation and popularity by raising local issues. So, these posters should be treated with seriousness,” said a senior police officer who has served in Jungle Mahal.

There are also reports of Maoist posters being recovered from pockets of two other Jungle Mahal districts—Jhargram and West Midnapore —on February 15.

A printed ‘Maoist’ poster with a list of demands.

A printed ‘Maoist’ poster with a list of demands.

A section of police officers and Trinamul leaders, however, suspect a group of local resients were putting up posters to draw attention of the administration and posing as Maoists to get government jobs.

The Mamata Banerjee government had started providing government jobs, mainly in the police as junior constables, to Maoists who surrendered to the government.

“We are definitely probing into the incidents of recovery of posters. We suspect there are groups that are actually trying to get government jobs by claiming to be Maoists. But they don’t know the government had the policy only for old-timers who once worked in Maoist squads,” said S. Selvamurugan, the Purulia police chief.

“We will certainly arrest those who are putting up such posters soon,” he added.

A senior state police officer, however, recalled the arrests of three Maoist activists from Bankura on the eve of Republic Day this year. They were caught pasting posters.

“It could that all posters are not the handiwork of Maoists but we can’t judge all posters as fake. For example, Maoist posters have not appeared in Bankura since the three activists were arrested,” said a senior police officer.

Opposition parties, including the CPM and the BJP, criticised the Trinamul-run state government for the incidents. hinting at a rise of the Maoists in Jungle Mahal.

Trinamul accused the Opposition parties of trying to provoke tension in Jungle Mahal. “The Trinamul led government did a lot of development work and the people of Jungle Mahal are happy. We that suspect parties like the BJP and the CPM are trying to bring back panic in the area,” said Soumen Belthoria, Trinamul district chief in Purulia.

Responding to the Trinamul’s criticism, Pradip Roy, CPM’s Purulia district secretary, said: “The police and administration should identify those behind Maoist posters.”

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