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West Bengal: Maoist Decimation

West Bengal: Maoist Decimation

By Deepak Kumar Nayak | 17 Mar 2015, 05:20 pm
Research Assistant, Institute for Conflict Management The Maoists, who were rampaging across the Jungal Mahal region of West Bengal in 2009-10, appear to be in no position to do anything to revive the movement in the State after the body blows that they suffered with the killing of politburo member Mallojula Koteswara Rao aka Kishanji, on November 24, 2011. Maoist activities have come to complete halt in the State since then. According to partial data collected by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), West Bengal recorded zero fatalities in all categories in 2014 and, so far, in 2015. According to Union Ministry of Home Affairs (UMHA) data, not even a single incident of Maoist violence was recorded in West Bengal in 2014, while just one incident was recorded in 2013.

Police inflicted further damage on the Maoists with the arrest of Anup Roy, a CPI-Maoist 'State Committee' member, from the Sealdah area of Kolkata District on January 29, 2014. Another top CPI-Maoist leader, Arvind Bachhar (45), wanted in a number of cases including that of a major blast in the Jhitka Forest of Jhargram in West Midnapore District, was arrested from Baduria in North 24 Parganas District on July 27, 2014.

On June 18, 2014, Police seized 500 detonators and 600 gelatine sticks from a car near Tetulgram village under Kotshila Police Station of Purulia District and arrested two persons, identified as Subal Mahato and Jaladhar Dwari.

On April 18, 2014, two gelatine sticks fitted with detonators were recovered from a main road, about six km from the venue of Trinamool Congress (TMC) chairperson and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's rally at Suri in Birbhum District.

On her part, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has visited Jungal Mahal many times to generate faith in people's minds and to accelerate development. Media assessments indicate that there is little sign of any popular discontentment against her rule in the Jungal Mahal region.

There have, however, been some reports suggesting Maoist plans to revive their movement in the State. Hinting that CPI-Maoist is trying to regroup in the Junglemahal area of West Bengal, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) officers disclosed that the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) were keeping a close watch on inputs about movement of various Maoist leaders in the area. On November 14, 2014, Vivek Sahay, Inspector General (CRPF) West Bengal Sector stated, "I won't say that Maoists are not trying to regroup in Bengal. We get inputs that Maoists leader Ranjit Pal and others are moving here and there in Jungal Mahal... We are on high alert. We have our six battalions placed here. But let me tell you one thing, the situation in Jungal Mahal is much better than it was two-three years back."

On all current indicators, it is clear that the Maoists are in no position to execute an effective plan for their revival in the Jungal Mahal region. However, with the challenging topography of the area, there is no scope for any complacency on parts the SFs, even as Maoist efforts to capitalize on any opportunity can be expected to continue.

West Bengal: Maoist Decimation

By Deepak Kumar Nayak
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