June 25, 2009

Maoist leader had named TMC, Mahasweta

By Kartyk Venkatraman


Posted online: Monday , Jun 22, 2009 at 1152 hrs

Kolkata : Months before Lalgarh hit the headlines in November 2008, the West Bengal Government had an idea of the extent of Maoist presence and activities in the state, including Nandigram. The information was received after interrogating CPI(Maoist) Bengal state secretary Himadri Sen Roy alias Somen. He was arrested by the state Criminal Investigation Department in February 2008 from Hridaypur railway station in North 24-Parganas.

According to Somen's interrogation report, accessed by The Indian Express, the 58-year-old admitted to Maoist involvement in Nandigram and links with Trinamool leaders and Trinamool-backed Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee (BUPC).

The report, which was forwarded to the state Government, said:

• CPI(Maoist) leaders, including Soren, visited Nandigram in December 2006 to "assess the temperament of locals" when protests against land acquisition for a chemical hub just began.

• Based on the visit, a meeting of his party was held in Chakulia forest in Jharkhand in February 2007 to devise a strategy for Nandigram. A decision was taken to keep the Maoists away from the forefront of agitation due to lack of organisational network in Nandigram. It was also decided to procure arms. Accordingly, the party central committee sanctioned Rs 8 lakh, by which six .315 rifles and 500 bullets worth Rs 4 lakh were purchased from one Sahoo based in Jharkhand.

• The consignment was received at Haldia, shipped to Nandigram and kept at the house of CPI(Maoist) East Midnapore zonal committee secretary Narayan's residence in Sonachura, the epicentre of Nandigram movement. Besides, 30 crude guns were procured locally. Narayan also acted as a link with the BUPC, whose members Karabi, Ranjit Pal and Dipak formed the Maoist squad along with Narayan.

• Somen also visited Nandigram in July 2007 for two days and stayed at Narayan's residence.

• Narayan was in contact with Trinamool MP from Tamluk Subendhu Adhikari, the then MLA from Contai South Assembly constituency, and BUPC leaders. Maoists also forged links with Sidiqullah Chowdhury's People's Democratic Council of India (PDCI), SUCI and Bandi Mukti Committee (BMC).

• Several Bengal intellectuals, including BMC president Mahasweta Devi, went to Nandigram at the Maoists’ behest to exhort people to join the anti-acquisition movement.

• However, relations between the BUPC and Maoists soured when the former rejected a proposal to form volunteer groups to take on the CPI(M) cadres.

About the Maoists’ organisational set-up, the CID report said:

• Kishanji, also operating under the names of Pradip, Bimal, Prahalad and Sridhar, collected “levy” from contractors in Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore averaging Rs 8 lakh per month. He also received Rs 1.3-1.5 lakh from the central party headquarters every month which he distributed directly to the state unit. He wrote press statements of the party in English while Somen framed the Bengali ones.

• Training of fresh inductees was conducted in Damuria Hills of Dalma forest in Gorabandha, Mayurbhanj, Orissa. Trainees would move in small batches of two to three by train from Howrah station to Tatanagar in Jharkhand, then by public transport to Dalma Hills and finally on foot.

• As state secretary, Somen handled political matters while military activity was under the Bengal-Jharkhand-Orissa regional committee.

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