Salwa Judum-style militia in West Bengal
A Salwa Judum-style anti-Maoist people’s militia has come up in Bengal’s West Midnapore district that has been worst hit by insurgency.
Peace march in Gondi language, Salwa Judum was launched in Chhattisgarh in 2005 allegedly by the state and Central governments.
During the first United Progressive Alliance regime, the Left, then an ally of the Congress, opposed the movement.
The state authorities have no clue about who organised the Maobadi Daman Sena (army to Suppress Maoists) or its leader Bhagat Ram Sardar.
But leaflets distributed by the militia across the Jhargram sub-division for the last couple of days asked people to combat the Maoists, as fierce fighting broke out between the Maoists and the combined forces in Salboni and Belpahari, about 160 km west of Kolkata.
Locals and the Maoist-backed People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities alleged that CPI(M) cadres joined hands with the forces and “fired at innocent villagers.”
“I’ve never heard about any such organisation. People annoyed with the Maoists may have formed it,” West Midnapore CPI(M) district committee secretary Deepak Sarkar told Hindustan Times.
Unconfirmed reports of seven to eight deaths circulated throughout the day though the police refused to confirm the number.
Superintendent of Police, West Midnapore, Manoj Verma said he was not aware of the militia or its leader.
Sardar argued in the leaflet, “Kihsenji, whom you have been worshipping… is turning our kids into killing machines.”
He also alleged that the Maoists made themselves comfortable with food, money and cattle taken forcibly from the tribals.
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