November 4, 2009


‘Maoists’ Block Train, Harass Passengers, Kill CPI (M) Worker
JHARGRAM: IN an unprecedented move, ‘Maoists’ blocked the Rajdhani Express en route to Delhi in the afternoon of 27 October at the Banstala halt near Jhargram. They threw stones on the train, broke the thick plate glass windows, injured passengers who had been, by then, reduced to hiding for life under the seats.

The turning up of a contingent of the joint forces five hours into the brigandage finally saw the train move, the passengers cursing the hooligans who had caused them untold misery, even depriving them of drinking water, not to speak of food.

The ‘Maoists’ later claimed with a touch or two of depraved pride that it had been they who had held up the train demanding the withdrawal of joint forces from the jangal mahal and release of the criminal Chhatradhar Mahato. The demands of course were never met.

The Railway minister unsurprisingly told a media briefing in Delhi the same afternoon even as the blockade was going on, that ‘Maoists’ were not responsible for the act, and added to say that it had been the Marxists (meaning the Bengal CPI-M) that had done the misdeed.

In a related development, the CID on interrogating the officer-in-charge, Sankrail has found inconsistencies in the latter officer’s statements. He was reportedly unable to clarify why he had not put up a resistance when confronted by a woman activist of the CPI (Maoist) initially and why he was not carrying any side arm.

The fact of the two murdered officers in the Sankrail police station being in casual civil attire and sans fire arms, too, has kept the police puzzled. In addition, there was no sentry mounted outside of the police station. The officer-in-charge is being interrogated further. In the meanwhile, we learn that he was seen having a long conversation with two unknown persons some 300 metres from the police station the day before the occurrence took place and that the persons had their faces covered.

The state government in the meanwhile has continued to pursue with renewed vigour and persistence the cases of the two missing constables of the Bengal armed police who had been abducted by the ‘Maoists’ back in July from the jangal mahal.

The killing continues in Midnapore west relentlessly. Comrade Pratap Nayak, a member of the Andharia gram panchayat and a CPI (M) worker was returning from Binpur haat on 26 October. It was high noon. Comrade Pratap had just negotiated the bend in the bridle path in the thick of the jungle near Dulungadihi when a gang of ‘Maoists’ equipped with sophisticated high-calibre guns confronted him and riddled him with bullets. The killers then sped away deep into the forestry using paths that must have been familiar to them.

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