A key Maoist leader in the troubled Lalgarh of West Bengal has revealed that people of the area want Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee eliminated and a landmine blast that narrowly missed the chief minister's car last November was an attempt on his life.
"The people have given the verdict to kill him (chief minister). Someone needs to execute it, so we took charge of it," Maoist leader Bikash told reporters.
Lalgarh has been on the boil since last November when a landmine exploded on the route of the convoy of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and then central ministers Ram Vilas Paswan and Jitin Prasada near Bhadutala when they were returning after laying the foundation stone of a steel plant in Salboni.
Police arrested some school students and allegedly harassed tribal women following the landmine blast. In protest, angry tribals dug up roads, virtually cutting off the zone from the rest of the district. They also demanded a public apology from the police for the alleged excesses against them. Lalgarh is some 200 km from here.
The area has witnessed continuous clashes between cadre of the ruling Left and the Maoists.
On Monday the tribals, led by the People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), allegedly set fire to the house of Anuj Pandey - a top Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader in Lalgarh - and also forced the police to wind up three camps set up in the area.
"At least 2,000 CPI-M men have fled Lalgarh. All their top leaders have also left the place. They have been sheltered in camps at Bandhgora in nearby Jhargram," a district police official said Monday.
Asked about the situation in Lalgarh, West Midnapore district magistrate N.S. Nigam said it was very tense. "There is no improvement in the situation yet," Nigam told IANS.
On Tuesday in Itaberia in East Midnapore, police seized some arms and ammunition from a CPI-M office.
"We have got two fire arms, 10 bullets, 17 bombs and some other material from the CPI-M party office," Pallab Kanti Ghosh, East Midnapore superintendent of police, told IANS.