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West Bengal: Fear stalks villagers as Maoist menace rises

Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 30, 2007

Statesman News Service

BANDWAN (Purulia), Nov. 29: Villages in the bordering areas of West Bengal’s Purulia district and Jharkhand’s East Singhbhum district are in the grip of panic, due to the recent spate of killings by the Maoists in Purulia. This is specially true of Bandwan, Barabazar and Balarampur blocks,

The former sabhadhipati of the Purulia zilla parishad, Mr Rabindra Nath Kar and his wife, both CPI-M members, were brutally murdered by a gang of armed Maoists at the midnight hours of 31 December, 2005, at Bhomragaraha village in Bandwan block, nearly 17 km from the Bandwan police station and 106 km from Purulia town.
There were armed guards with Mr Kar who was sleeping in a room, but nothing could be done. The CPI-M local committee members of Barabazar and Balarampur, Mr Bhagirath Karmakar and Mr Sufal Mandi, were also murdered in Bhikharicheliama and Ghatbera respectively this month.

All the three villages of Bhomragaraha, Bhikharicheliama and Ghatbera share their borders with Jharkhand. As a result of this, armed Maoists find it easy to cross the border of Purulia easily and successfully carry out their operations. They enter the deep forests of Datma and Ayodhya hills. It is a peculiar corridor for the Maoist and they use it frequently.

The superintendent of police, Purulia district, Mr Ashok Kumar Prosad, expressed his displeasure at the mention of the Dalma Maoist squad. The Maoistst have fled to safer places. While talking to The Statesman here today, he said that Maoist activities are on the rise in the district.

Mr Nakul Mahato, a veteran CPI-M leader and secretary of Purulia district CPI-M committee admitted that panic has taken hold of the villagers in the border areas of Purulia and Jharkhand. “We have asked the police authorities to keep a close watch on the bordering villages during the night. Active members of the CPI-M have also been alerted on their movement and instructed to keep in touch with the security.”
“Beware of the CPI-M party.” These were the words of caution which the Maoists wrote on the leaflets and posters which were found last week at Ghatbera.

As a result of this, the villagers have become afraid. Now, most of the villagers who live in the bordering villages of Jharkhand and Purulia’s Bandwan, Barabazar, Balarampur and Bagmundi have become silent on the political issue. They are reluctant to discuss anything related to politics.

It may be noted that those villagers who possessed guns for self-defence had sold off their weapons, fearing Maoist attacks for acquiring them. “Earlier the Maoist have looted many guns, even from the police outposts,” one of them said. The Maoists have attempted to steal licensed guns repeatedly.

A combing operation has been initiated by the security forces and a red alert has also been sounded in the border areas, specially in the Naxalite-infested blocks of Bandwan, Barabazar, Balarampur, Bagmundi, Jhalda, Boro, Joypur and Kotshila. “Night patrolling has also been strengthened,” an official of the state police said


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