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regular-article-logo Friday, 23 February 2024

Maoist jitters in Jungle Mahal

The alarm regarding Maoist threats caused Bengal DGP to rush to Midnapore and Jhargram to conduct closed-door meetings with top police officers of the area

Snehamoy Chakraborty Calcutta Published 17.04.22, 01:31 AM
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Police have reportedly advised Trinamul leaders in Jungle Mahal to complete their outdoor activities and go home “by sunset for at least fortnight” following a high-alert on incipient Maoist activities in the region.

The alarm regarding Maoist threats caused Bengal DGP Manoj Malaviya to rush to Midnapore and Jhargram on Saturday to conduct two separate, closed-door meetings with top police officers of the Jungle Mahal area. However, no policeman went on record to comment on what transpired in these meetings.

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Debnath Hansda, Trinamul’s Jhargram president and Binpur MLA, said that they were asked by the police to finish day-to-day outdoor activities within 6pm every day and return home before sunset. “It is because of some conspiracy by Maoist groups who are trying to cause a nuisance in the otherwise peaceful Jungle Mahal. However, the government and police are on alert,” he said.

Several ruling party leaders in districts like Bankura and Purulia too have admitted that they have been asked to cease activity after dusk.

At the height of Maoist activities in the early 2000s, politicians were often the prime targets of Maoist attacks.

Police sources said precautionary measures had been taken in all four Jungle Mahal districts following an intelligence inputs that two senior leaders of Left-wing extremists had taken shelter in Jungle Mahal and were trying to launch a sudden attack in a bid to prove their presence.

As a result, surveillance in specific pockets of four districts under Jungle Mahal — Jhargram, Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore — have increased. Anti-mine vehicles have been deployed in various pockets to check roads and paths in and out of different forests.

Police officers said this was the first instance in recent times that such threats had “shaken” senior police officers and had led them to intensify policing systems.

“There is a tip-off that a new committee of Maoists has been formed and they are planning something to make their presence felt. Most police stations in former Maoists zones in four Jungle Mahal districts are well-equipped with modern arms and anti-mine vehicles and we are monitoring roads,” said a senior police officer.

The complete shutdown-like situation in most pockets of Jungle Mahal followed a strike called by Maoists on April 8, and led the state government to revisit the official status of Maoists’ organisation in those pockets.

“The strike called by Maoists provoked a kind of response unprecedented and unseen since the Mamata Banerjee government came to power in 2011. The strike prompted local cops to seek actual reports from the ground, which was not satisfying at all as it was found that the Maoists were trying to strengthen their old bases again,” said a police officer in Jhargram.

Police have reportedly advised Trinamul leaders in Jungle Mahal to complete their outdoor activities and go home “by sunset for at least fortnight” following a high-alert on incipient Maoist activities in the region.

The alarm regarding Maoist threats caused Bengal DGP Manoj Malaviya to rush to Midnapore and Jhargram on Saturday to conduct two separate, closed-door meetings with top police officers of the Jungle Mahal area. However, no policeman went on record to comment on what transpired in these meetings.

Debnath Hansda, Trinamul’s Jhargram president and Binpur MLA, said that they were asked by the police to finish day-to-day outdoor activities within 6pm every day and return home before sunset. “It is because of some conspiracy by Maoist groups who are trying to cause a nuisance in the otherwise peaceful Jungle Mahal. However, the government and police are on alert,” he said.

Several ruling party leaders in districts like Bankura and Purulia too have admitted that they have been asked to cease activity after dusk.

At the height of Maoist activities in the early 2000s, politicians were often the prime targets of Maoist attacks.

Police sources said precautionary measures had been taken in all four Jungle Mahal districts following an intelligence inputs that two senior leaders of Left-wing extremists had taken shelter in Jungle Mahal and were trying to launch a sudden attack in a bid to prove their presence.

As a result, surveillance in specific pockets of four districts under Jungle Mahal — Jhargram, Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore — have increased. Anti-mine vehicles have been deployed in various pockets to check roads and paths in and out of different forests.

Police officers said this was the first instance in recent times that such threats had “shaken” senior police officers and had led them to intensify policing systems.

“There is a tip-off that a new committee of Maoists has been formed and they are planning something to make their presence felt. Most police stations in former Maoists zones in four Jungle Mahal districts are well-equipped with modern arms and anti-mine vehicles and we are monitoring roads,” said a senior police officer.

The complete shutdown-like situation in most pockets of Jungle Mahal followed a strike called by Maoists on April 8, and led the state government to revisit the official status of Maoists’ organisation in those pockets.

“The strike called by Maoists provoked a kind of response unprecedented and unseen since the Mamata Banerjee government came to power in 2011. The strike prompted local cops to seek actual reports from the ground, which was not satisfying at all as it was found that the Maoists were trying to strengthen their old bases again,” said a police officer in Jhargram.

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