The Maoists have built a strong base among university students and teachers and trained some of them in armed combat techniques.
The West Bengal Police claimed that Chhatradhar Mahato, arrested tribal leader of Lalgarh, had admitted these facts during interrogation.
Mahato (44) reportedly disclosed the names of 20 Kolkata-based university students and three of their professors, who have direct links with the Maoists, the police claimed.
Leader of the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) that led the anti-government movement in Lalgarh, about 160 km southwest of Kolkata, Mahato was arrested by the state police’s criminal investigation department (CID) on September 29.
“We have to verify Mahato’s statement and gather evidence before taking any legal step against these persons,” a high-ranking CID official told HT.
Top police officials decided on Saturday to summon some intellectuals for questioning.
According to the police, Mahato said the Maoists often consulted the professors on strategy matters. Mahato also allegedly mentioned some Kolkata-based intellectuals, who had connections with Maoists.
When Lalgarh and its surroundings became a no-entry zone for the police, the students frequently visited and stayed in Maoist dens. Some of them even received some sort of training from the Maoists.
The police claimed that they had been tracking these students for months and Mahato had only confirmed their names.
Maoists blow up track
Suspected Maoist rebels blew up railway tracks at two places in West Bengal and Jharkhand on Friday night, disrupting train services till Saturday afternoon.
About two feet of track was blown up in the blast at Purulia, 325 km west of Kolkata.
Seventeen trains were cancelled immediately and several others were rescheduled or diverted.
The second blast that blew up 18 metre rail track at Poisaita in Jharkhand, 150 km south west of Ranchi, disrupted train services on the Howrah-Mumbai route.