KOLKATA: Interrogation by the Bengal police reveals that Chhatradhar has been running a wide network of ‘Maoist’-led extortion ring in the entire jangal mahal of Midnapore west and even in adjoining districts.
The funds amounted to a whopping Rs 15 lakh per month. Money was extracted from the poorest of the poor to the smallholders, khet mazdoors, kisans, and agricultural labourers. The act of extortion was executed with maximum brutality by the so-called village defence squads of the ‘Maoists’ from across the border.
The police sources reveal that there has been continuous bickering and fall-out among the members of the PCAPA, the ‘civil society,’ and the ‘Maoists,’ with the Trinamulis goons interloping, on the basis on which the funds would be utilised (!).
In between, we learn from our trip to Jharkhand that the ‘Maoists’ have started training up a children’s army in the style of the other notorious ‘Maoist’ group of the people’s liberation army run by the brutish thug, ‘colonel’ Charles Taylor of Liberia, in sub-Saharan Africa. Indeed, the modus operandi is remarkably the same. The name and style of the ‘Maoist’ child army in Jharkhand is the ‘child liberation army.’
The children are plied with money and consumables, and then told of the ‘spirit of adventure’ that is associated with wielding automatic rifles, sten guns, pistols, and sharp, cutting weapons. Similar to the African phenomenon, the Indian ‘Maoists’ run training camps’ with residential facilities and recruitment is made from the families of the poorest of the poor of Jharkhand.
We learn that two such ‘camps’ have been located in the jangal mahal of Dhanbad and Giridih. The children thus trained are thought by the police to have been involved in the murder of several Bengal CPI (M) workers in recent times. Further enquiries are going on.