Rifles tumble out of 'killing fields' of West Bengal

Huge arms cache seized near CPM party office in West Midnapore

With Monday’s recovery of 14 arms that included three German-made pistols from New Town, a satellite township neighbouring Kolkata, the total haul of rifles, guns and pistols has so far exceeded 250, a figure that forced Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to order a high-level probe and intensify search operations across all vulnerable areas.

What gave a rude shock to the state administration was the Sunday’s recovery of a large cache of arms and ammunition near the CPM party office at Enayetpur in West Midnapore district.

The haul included an INSAS assault rifle looted from the Silda EFR camp allegedly by the Maoists in February 2010 an AK-56 rifle, eight .315 rifles and 25 firearms. The arms were found wrapped in CPM party flags.

New angle

“The arsenal number on the INSAS rifle recovered at Enayetpur matches that of the rifles looted during the Silda camp attack. So far our suspicion was on the Maoists. Activists of the CPM may have also been involved,” Director-General of Police Naparajit Mukherjee told the media  at the state secretariat here.

Mukherjee said the additional director general of the State Criminal Investigation Department has been ordered to carry out a fresh probe.

Twenty-four troopers of the EFR, a state paramilitary force, were killed in the attack on the Silda camp on February 15, 2010.

Till date, the Maoists were believed to have been behind the attack and the chargesheet filed by the police also mentioned this.

“The new angle is being probed. Though the earlier chargesheet records the names of Maoists, we can file a supplementary chargesheet also,” he said.Even on Monday, arms and ammunition were seized from a field in Kashijora village under Salboni police station in West Midnapore.

Reports quoting District Police Superintendent M K Verma said 18 guns along with huge cartridges were found in a field in the village. 

In addition to this, four guns were seized from a field near the Jindal Steel Works construction site.  Besides New Town, arms including three guns were recovered from Sashan, a former CPM stronghold in North 24 Parganas district on Monday. 

Senior police and combined forces' officials who were being helped by the  villagers in Bankura, West and East Midnapore locate the arms cache, claim that the arsenal was part of the “Harmad camps” that the CPM had allegedly set up to thwart the Maoist advance into its territory.  

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