History of conflict
|It started last year, after the local tribals alleged police excesses in the name of raids after Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s convoy was attacked on November 2. |
The People’s Committee against Police Atrocities
was formed; Maoists
gradually took control of
it and began targeting CPM activists.
Lalgarh remained cut off for several months.
West Bengal Police and the CRPF launched joint operation on June 17. They had to take the help of the counter-Maoist Cobra force and the state police’s elite commando force.
On June 22, the forces took control of Lalgarh.
Despite this, Maoists have continued to target CPM activists, killing 18 since the operation began
Maoists shot dead two CPM supporters late on Saturday and put up posters threatening to kill six others in West Midnapore district as violence continued in strife-torn Lalgarh despite the over month-old operation by security forces.
The killings have taken the death toll to 17 since the start of operations in the West Bengal district on June 17.
The first victim was Kalipada Singha (40), a member of the Ganatantrik Protirodh Committee of the area. Police said Singha, who had been given a ‘death sentence’ by the Maoists in their ‘Kangaroo court’ recently for alleged corrupt practices, had been gunned down at Chirugora village under Belpahari police station.
Later that night, Nirmal Mahato, also 40, was called out of his home by Maoists, who then shot him dead. The incident occurred at Amdanga village, barely two kilometers from Lalgarh police station. Mahato was the CPI(M) branch committee secretary of Amdanga.
Maoists termed both killings as “rightful punishment’.
Police have arrested Anil Mahato, brother of Chatradhar Mahato who is the leader of the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities. They have also detained four students. “We are interrogating the arrested and the detained,” said Manoj Verma, SP, West Midnapore.
The arrest sparked off protests in Lalgarh and roads, blocked with tree logs, cut off the town from Dharampur.
The unrest comes just a day after Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram had criticized the state government for failing to rein in the Maoists and said the situation in Lalgarh had not improved.
In another development, panic spread as posters — apparently put up by Maoist rebels — surfaced in Goaltore, Midnapore Sadar, Salboni and Jhargram warning six CPM leaders, including zonal committee secretary (Jhargram) Rabi Sarkar, of ‘justice’ at the Kangaroo court “very soon”.