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HindustanTimes Wed,17 Sep 2014

Maoist leader remanded in police custody till Oct 1

IANS  Lalgarh, September 28, 2009
First Published: 01:39 IST(28/9/2009) | Last Updated: 01:40 IST(28/9/2009)

Chhattradhar Mahato, chief of a Maoist-backed body at the forefront of the violent agitation in this trouble-torn belt of West Bengal, was on Sunday remanded in police custody till Oct 1.

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Mahato, arrested by police on Saturday, was brought before the Jhargram sub-divisional court amid heavy security.

Posing as journalists, police had sneaked in on Mahato, head of the tribal body People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), and arrested him from Birka near the headquarters of Lalgarh block in West Midnapore district.

The tribal leader had been eluding police ever since he went underground after the central and state governments launched a joint operation to flush out the Maoists.

The rebels had virtually made areas around Lalgarh, about 200 km west of Kolkata, a "free zone" since November last year.

Following the arrests, irate Maoists tried to trigger a landmine blast in the Kantapahari area and also called a nationwide shutdown Oct 3.

Meanwhile, two police constables picked up by leftwing extremists from Banspahari area near here remained untraced.

Lalgarh has been on the boil since November when a landmine exploded on the route of the convoy of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and then central ministers Ram Vilas Paswan and Jitin Prasada.

Complaining of police atrocities after the blast, angry tribals backed by Maoists launched an agitation, virtually cutting off the area from the rest of West Midnapore district.

As violence continued, the paramilitary forces and state police launched the operation, but till date the Maoists have been gunning down leaders and activists of the state's ruling Left Front major Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and tribals whom they dub as police informants.

Maoists are active in areas covered by 21 police stations in the state's three western districts - West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia.


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