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lalgarh: Cops target Mahato aides to smash movement

Posted by Admin on September 30, 2009

KOLKATA: The arrest of People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA) leader Chhatradhar Mahato might come as a face-saver for the state
government after a three-month operation in Jangalmahal that was increasingly seeming futile. But three days after his arrest, it has emerged that Mahato has little information on the Maoists’ latest strategy.

Working as the PCPA spokesperson, he had gradually become detached from the core Maoist leadership in Jangalmahal over the past two months, said sources.

But desperate for a breakthrough, security forces have changed their strategy. Their main objective now is to break the PCPA spine and for that they are targeting leaders Sidhu Soren and Bikash. "PCPA’s Sidhu keeps the Maoist supply lines running. Bikash, however, leads the militia force in and around Lalgarh," said a senior police officer.

As it targets PCPA, a section of state police has also agreed to not disturb the CPM brigade consolidating itself to take on Maoist squads. Some officers are also trying to get former members of two disbanded outfits Maoist Communist Centre and Peoples’ War inducted into PCPA to work as spies and get information on rebel movement. "If we manage to nab the PCPA leaders, then Maoists will be forced to come forward, creating a favourable condition for us to intensify the operation in the villages,” said an officer.

In the past one and half months, Kolkata Police STF chief Rajeev Kumar who is also a member of the monitoring team visited Lalgarh at least three times with his team in the guise of NGO workers or newsmen. On one such trip, he managed to get some photographs of Bikash.

According to sources, senior officers mentioned in their report that well-trained Maoist cadres (members of Peoples’ Liberation Guerrilla Army) in Jangalmahal don’t number more than 50. Most of them move with their military strategist Koteswar Rao alias Kishenji. "The main sabotages and killing sprees have been executed by the militia team mainly comprising local villagers led by Bikash. They are not well-trained. Sidhu and some PCPA leaders organise rallies as part of their democratic movement while simultaneously working for the militia,” says the report.

Sources, however, said that Chhatradhar’s arrest has not helped cops so far. "He was just working as the spokesperson of the PCPA and was detached from the core group of the outfit,” said an investigating officer.

The rebels have also changed their strategy soon after the arrest of some key PCPA organisers like Sundar Mandi and Aghor Hembram in Purulia and some sympathizers planted in government agencies, all of whom have been replaced by not so well-known people.

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