October 20, 2009

Maoists kill one police official, kidnap two in West Midnapore

KOLKATA, 20 oct, 2009: In a blatantly daring operation, the banned CPI (Maoist) cadres on Monday killed one police official of the Sankrail police station in the Maoist-infested West Midnapore district injuring another seriously and kidnapped the officer-in-charge of the police station and one assistant sub-inspector.
The gang of about 25 armed Maoists including some women, attacked the police station and also looted arms and ammunition including a few sophisticated AK 47 and AK 56 rifles before they escaped on motorcycles into the dense jungles. The armed Maoists also looted more than Rs 9 lakh from a nationalised bank’s Kesiapara branch which was very close to the police station.
They have also put up posters in the Sankrail police station demanding release of Chhatradhar Mahato, leader of the Peoples Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA). CPI(M) central committee member Md. Salim have condemned the incident. West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee held an emergency meeting at the Writers’ Buildings immediately after the reports of Maoists attack reached the state administrative headquarters. He also expressed sorrow over killing of the police official. West Bengal chief secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty said their first job would be to rescue the abducted police officials. Joint forces, however, reached the police station on Tuesday night.
Maoist leader Kishenji has admitted that the killing of the police official, attack at the police station and kidnapping of the police officials have been their handiwork. He also threatened the state administration not to make any attempts to send any senior official at the area. "If such an attempt is made, the abducted police officials will be beheaded." Tuesday’s incident at Sankrail police station was the most dreaded operation the Maoists had carried out in Lalgarh and the entire Jangalmahal ever since the joint operation by the central force and state armed police had begun in the region in July this year.
The police station was attacked only a few days ahead of the proposed visit of senior state government officials at Lalgarh to supervise the operations being carried out by the West Midnapore district administration. Incidentally, the director general of police, Bhupinder Singh was also in West Midnapore district on Tuesday when the Maoists attacked the Sankrail police station and killed one police official. Singh was holding a meeting with senior district police officials at Midnapore town. He and the superintendent of police, West Midnapore district Manoj Verma, rushed to the Sankrail police station immediately after they came to know about the attack.

The police station is surrounded by thick forests and the Maoists had taken this advantage to attack it which was supposed to provide support base to the Central force and state armed police personnel in carrying out flushing out operations against the Maoists. The Maoist activists, all on motorcycles and carrying sophisticated arms and ammunition with them, attacked the police station all on a sudden at about 1-30 p.m. They took not more than 20 minutes to complete their operation in which some female Maoist activists also took part.
Police sources are not ruling out the possibility of the fact that the Maoist squad which conducted operation at the Sankrail police station was hailed either from adjoining states of Jharkhand or Bihar. The West Bengal police have already contacted the two neighbouring states and sought their help to nab the Maoists, whom the police suspects, have crossed over the Bengal-Jharkhand border.
West Bengal governor Gopal Krihsna Gandhi, in a statement, has condemned the attack on the police force. "The killing and abduction of police personnel in West Midnapore is a despicable act. Left wing extremists must realise that no just causes can be secured by such diabolisms, retribution will overtake them."
The Maoists had gunned down the second officer of the police station, Dibakar Bhattacharjee at the police station. They have abducted the officer-in-charge, Atindranath Dutta and one assistant sub-inspector Swapan Roy and had not released them till late on Tuesday evening.

War on Maoism by other means

Marcus Dam
KOLKATA: A team of officials will be visiting the Lalgarh area of West Bengal’s Paschim Medinipur district on Tuesday as part of the State government’s plans to expedite development work in the region. Joint security operations by paramilitary forces and the State police are under way in the region to flush out Maoists and activists of the Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee.
The State government has been planning for greater development of the region that has been severely affected by months of strife in the wake of left-wing extremism. The joint operations by security forces against the Maoists had begun on June 18.
The delegation will visit the area and discuss with the authorities how to take the development process forward and restore the confidence of the people in the local administration, Chief Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty said here on Monday. Officials had earlier visited Lalgarh and held talks with district authorities on development initiatives that included rural electrification, digging of tube-wells and improving of health care facilities.
The delegation will, among other things, take stock of the progress made on these initiatives, it is learnt. The government is trying to put in place development plans not just for the Lalgarh area but the entire tribal belt in the south-west region spanning parts of adjoining Bankura and Purulia districts.

Mr. Chakraborty, accompanied by Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen and the Director-General of Police Bhupinder Singh will be visiting the area on October 27 to discuss administrative and security issues with officials.

They will review the progress of the operations against the Maoists, some of whom continue to be in hide-outs in the forest even though areas in Lalgarh that had remained out of bounds to the police and the civil authorities since November 2008 had been reclaimed by the security forces. The future of the security operations were discussed by West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee at meetings with the Prime Minister and the Home Minister in New Delhi earlier this month.
THE HINDU, KOLKATA, October 19, 2009