West Bengal Timeline 2015
Nearly four years after the CPI-Maoist
leader Mallojula Koteswara Rao alias Kishenji was gunned
down in an encounter in West Bengal's Junglemahal area, the Maoists
have started trickling back into the forest-covered terrain of
the State. According to inputs by both Central and State agencies,
a number of top Maoist leaders from West Bengal and Jharkhand
have been spotted making their way into villages. Security agencies
have received inputs from ground-level sources that in the last
few days, 'regional commanders' and leaders such as Bikash, Shyamal
and Ranjit Pal have been spotted in the area. They have also been
in touch with some known associates in villages along the West
Bengal-Jharkhand border. Sources further said that a group of
Maoists, under the leadership of Madan Mahato, 'commander' of
the Belpahari region in Purulia, was spotted in the Ranibandh
area of Bankura three weeks back. "Security agencies believe Mahato
to be unwell. There is a high chance that he is hiding somewhere
in the dense forest along the Bengal-Jharkhand border. Bikash
and others must have contacted him to get a ground report," a
senior officer said.
In the first ever group-acquittal
since the TMC came to power in 2011, as many as 10 'political
prisoners' were acquitted by a Ranaghat (Nadia District) District
court in south Bengal. All the activists were allegedly working
for the CPI-Maoist in Nadia District in south-central Bengal and
had been languishing in various jails for nearly 10 years. They
were charged under the Arms Act of 1959 and various sections of
the IPC. However, none of the charges was established and thus
all the activists were acquitted by the (Addl.) District and Sessions
Judge, Rupanjana Chakravarty. Ajit Chakravarty, Pradeep Chatterjee,
Lata Murmu, Gupi Das, Haidar Ali Chowdhury, Paresh Tirkey and
Mongal Mondal were released.
Four persons including Chhatradhar
Mahato, convener of the CPI Maoist-backed 'Police Santrash Birodhi
Janasadharaner Committee', were convicted by a Court in West Medinipur
District, for sedition and the Unlawful Activities Prevention
Act (UAPA), 2008. "Other than Mahato, Sukhsanti Baske, Sambhu
Soren and Sagun Murmu associated with the PSBJC have also been
convicted by the Court. Two others - Raja Sarkhel and Prasoon
Chattopadhyay - have been convicted of sedition but the Court
absolved them of charges under the UAPA brought by the prosecution,"
said Mrinal Kanti Chowdhury, the counsel of the accused.
Jailed CPI-Maoist cadres in West
Bengal wrote to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, claiming that
she will soon be "punished" for "disowning and convicting" Chhatradhar
Mahato - "the face of Lalgarh movement and without whom the CM
could not have succeeded in bringing change" in Bengal. On May
11, a Midnapore court had sentenced Mahato, the convener of PCPA,
and five others to life imprisonment after holding them guilty
under UAPA for their alleged links with Maoists. The letter, signed
by several Maoists, has been written by IIT dropout Arnab Dam
and senior leader Patit Paban Haldar. Both leaders are currently
lodged at Presidency Jail. The letter stated: "The chief minister
held several meetings with Mahato and asked him to spearhead the
tribal movement. She promised that Mahato would be released when
she would come into power. However, she disowned him after assuming
office. She would be punished for this treachery… She alone did
not bring change in Bengal. Many people like Chhatradhar Mahato
were with her." However, the letter - written on white paper -
is yet to reach Mamata and is lying with the superintendent of
The three leaders of the Provisional
Central Committee, Marxist-Leninist or CPI-M-L (PCC) who were
allegedly detained "illegally" by the Paschim Medinipur District
Police had been charged with sedition. Additional Chief Judicial
Magistrates' Court in Jhargram in Paschim Medinipur remanded Jiten
Giri, Sunil Barik and Niranjan Bera to six days in Police custody.
"Apart from sedition, Giri, Barik and Bera were also charged with
criminal conspiracy," their counsel Ashini Mondal said. He also
said that in the court, the Police alleged that on May 17 the
three persons were spotted roaming around "suspiciously" in Lodhasuli
area in the District.
Life was partially affected in
parts of Purulia District and Jhargram sub-division of West Midnapore
District in response to a 12 hour Jangalmahal bandh call
given by CPI-Maoist and a radical ultra left group. The shutdown
strike call was given demanding unconditional release of PCPA
convener Chhatradhar Mahto and five others who were jailed on
the charge of anti-State activities.
Only three days after State Police
DGP G.M.P. Reddy said that there was nothing to worry about CPI-Maoist-activities
in the Jangalmahal region of West Bengal, a report by the central
intelligence department to the UMHA indicated several Maoist groups
are operative in the area. The report is all the more alarming
because Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had personally enquired
about the Maoist activities there. The report has been mentioned
that there are at least 10 groups - all from Jharkhand and Odisha
- which are frequenting parts of Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore
and conducting meeting with the villagers and local youths. In
the report, there is mention of Gopal Pande and Rahul who are
making rounds in the Jangalmahal area regularly.
NIA submitted a supplementary
chargesheet before the NIA Special Court at Kolkata summing up
the investigation into a module of CPI-Maoist cadres based in
Kolkata and Jharkhand. This module was active between 2010-12
and manufactured hand grenades for use against the state. The
charge sheet has charged two Maoist cadres - arrested from the
Watgunge area in Khidderpore by Kolkata Police STF on July 25
and 26 three years ago - Mohan Viswakarma and Arjun Ganjhu.
The UMHA alerted the West Bengal State Government
of a possible strike by the CPI-Maoist. The CPI-Maoist has issued
a notification stating, "Under the present political situation
in West Bengal, the party's Eastern bureau has decided to reconstitute
the state committee. The party has analyzed the political situation,
our struggle and how to strengthen our organisation." Combing
operations were beefed up after the outfit put up posters in Jangalmahal,
in the Western part of the state. A Central intelligence report
stated that the Maoist central committee had directed its West
Bengal unit to choose 'comparatively soft targets'. The group
has appointed Akash as the new 'state secretary' of the reconstituted
21-member committee, but according to its organisational structure,
leaders, who are in jail have not been included on the committee.
Police arrested two cadres of the CPI-Maoist from
Purulia District for putting up posters in favour of the CPI-Maoist.
Purulia SP Rupesh Kumar said "We have arrested two suspected Maoists-Khori
Hansda and Mutru Hansda-from their house at Khenkridi village
under Balarampur Police Station in Purulia for putting up posters
with threats. Some posters and banners in favour of CPI-Maoist
have been seized from them."
"We had earlier arrested three suspected Maoists-Mahendra
Hembram, Badyanath Soren and Ajit Hembram from Urma station area
on July 27 and after interrogating them, we have made this arrest,"
he said. Some Maoist posters were found at Matha, Vuchundi and
Tiger More area under Balarampur Police Station in Purulia and
some Maoist banners were found in some places under Barikul Police
Station area in Bankura District of West Bengal.
The MHA has warned the West Bengal government
of possible attacks by the CPI-Maoist rebels in the run-up to
the Independence Day and asked it to beef up security across the
state. After the report from the Central intelligence agencies
reached State Secretariat, Nabanna, state Home Secretary Basudeb
Banerjee and DGP G M P Reddy held a high-level meeting and directed
senior Police officials to take adequate measures to combat the
possible Maoist attacks. The IB report stated that at least 60
youth, including women from Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand had joined
the military wing of the Maoists and they had been divided into
squads comprising 10 members. The IB report stated that the Maoists'
first target was Belpahari and for the last one month their cadre
could be seen entering the state from Jharkhand and secretly campaigning
among the villagers.
In a six-page review report, the eastern bureau
of the CPI-Maoist, has said it committed "mistakes" during the
Lalgarh movement by killing people and removing their bodies covertly
and said that it had wrongly believed that TMC would withdraw
joint forces from Jangalmahal after coming to power in the State.
The outfit said, "We had a belief that if the CPI-M is defeated,
then the joint forces will be withdrawn and all political prisoners
released, but we were wrong." Ruling TMC, however, dismissed the
report as "propaganda". The Maoists' admission of mistakes came
at a time when there are reports that the ultras were trying to
stage a comeback in Jangalmahal (West Midnapore, Purulia
and Bankura Districts) after a hiatus of four years since the
death of CPI-Maoist politburo member Kishenji in November, 2011.
A senior CRPF officer said, "There has been a surge in their activities
in the past six months. We have specific reports of their movements,
both individually and in small groups, especially in Binpur, Lalgarh,
and parts of Purulia."
Personnel of the bomb squad of the West Bengal
CID have found a bag full with explosives from Falaknuma Express
at Howrah railway station. Officials suspect that the bag has
been transported from Secunderabad by the down Howrah-Secunderabad
Falaknuma Express, according to preliminary reports. Unclaimed
pipe like objects were recovered from a reserved compartment of
the express train, which were found to be low intensity landmines.
Two hundred fifty youths from the 'Red Corridor'
of West Bengal joined the Army and regular recruitment drives
have now been started in the area to bring youngsters of CPI-Maoist-affected
areas in the State into the mainstream.
Two CPI-Maoist 'supporters' were arrested on charges
of extortion from Balarampur town in Purulia District. The two
hailing from Belpahari in West Midnapore District came to Balarampur
and were extorting money from the shopkeepers who complained to
the Police. Police rushed to the area and arrested the duo.
Source:Compiled from news reports and