West Bengal police IG says Maoists network is difficult to crack
Posted by Admin on October 26, 2009
Maoist network can’t be cracked overnight: WB
Kolkata: Cracking the Maoist network in West Bengal will not be easy, top police and administrative officials admit days after the rebels cocked a snook at the authorities with the dramatic abduction of a cop in Sankrail near the Lalgarh region.
“It would not be right to call the Lalgarh operation totally successful right now. The Maoist network can’t be cracked overnight and it’s not a very easy task either. You have to give some more time,” Surajit Kar Purakayastha, the state inspector general of police (Law and Order), told IANS.
It has been over four months since a massive security offensive was launched in the Lalgarh region of West Midnapore district to flush out Maoists. While it has not seen much success yet, police insist that investigations into the rebel network are yielding positive results.
“The outcome of the investigation has been satisfactory, especially after the arrest of tribal leader Chhattradhar Mahato,” Purakayastha said.
Around August, Mahato spearheaded a Maoist-backed movement in Lalgarh under the banner of the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA). Police also arrested a Maoist commander, Chandra Bhushan Yadav, who used to operate in neighbouring Jharkhand. He has been handed over to the Jharkhand police.
However, the Sankrail episode has left many in the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led government redfaced.
Terming it as “unfortunate”, state chief secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty said the government would take steps to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.
“We’re taking adequate measures by formulating necessary security strategies now. We’ll tighten security arrangements at all police stations in West Midnapore district,” Chakraborty said.
In the audacious daylight raid last week, about 40 Maoists had stormed into the Sankrail police station and shot dead two police officers and abducted officer-in-charge Dutta. He was handed over to a section of scribes by the ultras in exchange for some tribal Maoist suspects.
Additional Director General (CID) Raj Kanojia told IANS: “So far the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has arrested four people for allegedly carrying out Maoist activities across the state.
“Yes, we’ve got several important leads from those arrested and the investigation is progressing.”
Many photographs and other incriminating evidence have surfaced before the investigating agency that established the links between Maoists and Mahato, he said.
Two human rights activists – Raja Sarkhel and Prasun Chatterjee – have also been taken into custody by police for alleged links with the rebels and the PCAPA top brass in Lalgarh.
But Kanojia said police had not been able to establish that the PCAPA received foreign funding.
As the government continues its drive, not everyone is convinced that it is proceeding in the right direction. For one, the main opposition Trinamool Congress is crying foul.
“The Communist government is just using joint forces to regain control in Lalgarh. They have still not initiated any economic activity there,” said leader of opposition and Trinamool heavyweight Partha Chattopadhyay.
“I don’t think the Lalgarh operation is on the right track; otherwise rural people would have joined hands with the forces to flush out Maoist rebels. The CPI-M is launching attacks on innocent villagers in the name of the Maoists,” he added.
According to sources, the involvement of a few city-based intellectuals has also been revealed during Mahato’s interrogation, but officially neither the state government nor police have confirmed it.
Human rights activist Sujato Bhadro, however, said the joint forces operation would not bring any change in the socio-political system in Lalgarh.
“We oppose the paramilitary forces operation in Lalgarh. Maoist activity is a reaction to a social crisis and it has to be sorted out through political dialogue. The government should sit across the table and talk it out with the rebels,” he said. The Week