Junior Trinamool functionaries with Maoist links are enjoying the protection of 22 security persons including commandos armed with AK 47 and INSAS — a level of security that is about two-thirds that of the President of India.
Three of them— Srikanta Mahato of Howrah district and Churamoni Mahato and Ujjwal Dutta of West Midnapore— have pending cases against them for having rebel connections. Mahato was arrested in 2010 for alleged ultra activities.
After the Chhattisgarh Maoist attack on a Congress convoy, the West Bengal government has decided to give Z category security— just one notch below that enjoyed by the President and Prime Minister— to more than six district Trinamool leaders before the panchayat polls.
However, the Trinamool rank and file says this is not enough.
“The Maoist threat looms large on Trinamool Congress leaders at the grassroots level. Therefore, the government has given Z category security. But if something untoward has to happen, it will. Mahendra Karma (the Congressman who was killed in the Chhattisgarh attack) had so many armed guards but still he lost his life,” said Suvendu Adhikari, chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s pointsman in Jangalmahal.
Dinen Roy, Trinamool West Midnapore district president and one of those getting protection, said: “I do not know how to react or what to say. I have learnt that the government has given me such high-profile security.”
Dipak Sarkar, West Midnapore secretary of the CPI(M), said: “During Left rule all these leaders had Maoist links with cases pending still now. And now they are getting high-profile security in the name of Maoist threats. Even when Maoists were highly active in this region, none of the leaders, be it ruling or opposition, got such status.”