Naxal Resistance

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Maoists infiltrate NGOs to expand support base in Bengal

Posted by Indian Vanguard on September 18, 2007

KOLKATA: Maoists in West Bengal are taking the help of a few NGOs in extending their network beyond stronghold districts of Bankura, Purulia, and West Midnapore, according to state police.

The intelligence branch (IB) of police has come across specific instances where Maoist guerillas have joined reputed NGOs, posing as social workers. According to IB sources, the entire exercise is aimed at developing organised resistance against police action.

“The Maoists have realised that the best way to reach out to the people is through NGOs and human rights groups. Since the NGOs are not under police scrutiny it is easy for the Maoist rebels to expand their support base without inviting trouble,” a senior IB official told DNA.

Sources said the Maoist-NGO nexus is being developed in two ways. “In some cases, wanted Maoist guerrillas join reputed NGOs as volunteers and then under the garb of social work do their networking. We have also come across instances when Maoists have funded individuals or groups to start an NGO,” the IB official said.

Although he refused to divulge the names of the NGOs infiltrated by Maoists, he conceded that almost all organisations campaigning against the state government over the Singur and Nandigram issues have developed a nexus with the rebels.

The government, however, is not taking any action against these NGOs. Reason: It wants to give the NGOs a chance to disassociate themselves from the Maoists.

But the plan may backfire, pointed out state municipal affairs and urban development minister Ashoke Bhattacharjee. The minister said even after the veiled warning the NGOs are providing shelter to the rebels. In such a situation, Bhattacharjee said, the administration will have to take action against the NGOs.

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