Mamata throws challenge to Maoists

Keen to curb the Maoist menace in the state, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addressed a rally at Belpahari, once considered a bastion of red rebels, and appealed to them to join the mainstream.

Banerjee said: “In 1992 when I first came to Belpahari I was shocked to see the deplorable condition of the people and at that time only I decided to do something for these people. This time when I decided to come to Belpahari I was told not to come here but I was not convinced.”

“If they (Maoists) want to kill let them kill me but some people will be showing guns to the people and threaten them and stop all developmental work in the area in the name of movement...this is not going to happen. If I die, thousand others will be born to stand against this menace,” Banerjee in her fifth visit to junglemahal after becoming Chief Minister, said.

Lashing out at the Maoists, Banerjee said: “The Maoists want bloodshed and nothing. They want to bring all the developmental works to a grinding halt and we will not allow that. Some people will come from Jharkhand and Odisha and kill common people and go back behind the woods - this can’t be tolerated. I shall not allow these kinds of things here.”

Inviting the Maoists to come back to the mainstream, the chief minister said: “If you come back to the mainstream of life (then) the government will give you everything.
You will get food, clothing, shelter, employment and a respectable life. But the government will not tolerate any kind of lawlessness and bloodshed here.”

Announcing an additional 5,000 posts of junior policemen, 700 posts in the police and 500 in the railways apart from 10,000 posts of policemen previously announced for the junglemahal, the Trinamool Congress supremo said: “You all know that the state is suffering from a tremendous fund crunch, still the government is committed to do everything for the development of this area.”

Political prisoner status for Maoists

The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday granted the status of political prisoners to seven alleged rebels, including top Maoist leader, Venkateshwara Reddy alias Telugu Dipak and Leader of People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) Chhatradhar Mahato. While the decision was welcomed as a much awaited respite by the prisoners, it was seen as a major blow to the West Bengal government which has been sitting on the plea of the prisoners for years, reports DHNS from Kolkata.

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