Bengal police warn Mamata of Maoist attack

Bengal police warn Mamata of Maoist attack

Based on intelligence inputs the West Bengal police have warned Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and some of her party colleagues against moving in the Maoist hotbed, particularly at night, anticipating that they might become soft targets for rebels.

“In the last few days we have seen, whether it be Odisha or Chhattisgarh, the Maoists have changed their style of operation. They are kidnapping some important persons and holding them to ransom. In this way they have freed some of their senior members from the jail,” a senior intelligence officer, who did not want to be named, told Deccan Herald. 

“As the Maoists have been cornered in West Bengal, particularly after the killing of Kishenji and the arrest of Vikram—a top Maoist leader who was arrested in Purulia district a few days before—they might replicate the Odisha-Chhattisgarh model in Bengal,” the officer said.

“We have specific intelligence input that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, All India Trinamool Congress general secretary Mukul Roy, Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee and MP Subhendu Adhikary are under their scanner,” he added.

However, Banerjee has not curtailed her movements and will be visiting the Maoist-hit Belapahari area in the Junglemahal region on August 8 after returning from Darjeeling to oversee development works. Senior officials will accompany her.

“We have made them aware of the situation and advised them not to move in the dark, particularly in these areas. We have also told them to make the police aware of their visits to these areas so that we can make proper security arrangements,” a senior police officer told Deccan Herald.

‘Privileged security’

When asked about the security arrangement to the chief minister, the officer said. “Our chief minister always enjoys a privileged security arrangement but she often breaks the security cordon and enters the masses. Naturally, it becomes very hard for us to maintain equal security cordon all through her way. However, we have briefed her about the situation and we will make proper arrangement whenever she moves.”

Odisha has experienced a series of kidnappings, including those of a district magistrate and ruling party MLAs, to free arrested Maoists leaders. Chhattisgarh also faced similar kind of situation recently. In Bengal, the officer-in-charge of Sankrail in West Midnapore was kidnapped some years ago when Maoist activity in the state was at an all-time high.

“After Vikram’s arrest, we were warned by the police against moving at night time, particularly when travelling in the (interior) districts. They may attempt to kidnap us in order to free him. Though we are not scared, there is hardly any point in taking unnecessary risks and being soft targets,” a senior leader whose name also figures on the hit-list of the Maoists told Deccan Herald.

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