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Maoist backed group calls 24-hour bandh in Jangalmahal

September 16, 2011 14:53 IST

The Maoist-backed People's Committee against Police Atrocities has called a 24-hour bandh in Jangalmahal in West Bengal on September 19 to protest against alleged torture of its workers by the joint forces and Trinamool Congress workers amidst reports that the extremists are reviving their moribund squads.

The bandh, called by the PCPA, is in response to the arrest by the joint forces of a prominent PCPA activist Santosh Mahato on September 12 from Lalgarh Bazar, police said.

Mahato is accused of kidnapping two Lalgarh residents-- Kanchan Garai and Sabir Mollah in 2009 when they were travelling on a motorcycle to Dharampur from Lalgarh. Till date no trace has been found of either the two persons or their bike.

Santosh, close to Maoist leader Bikash, was leading a squad named after activist Tota Hembram based in Lalgarh.

He has been remanded in police custody after being produced in a court where he was charged under the Arms Act.

PCPA spokesman Joydeb Mahato said the bandh has been called also to protest against 'atrocities' committed by goons of Trinamool Congress at Jangalmahal.

Meanwhile, intelligence reports said the Maoists were active in regrouping many of the squads that had folded up during the height of the joint forces operation in West Midnapore district.

Some of the squads are named after prominent Maoist leaders like Madan Mahato, Jayanta Mahato and Suchitra Mahato, wife of Sasadhar Mahato, police said.

Violent incidents are also being reported from the region with four murders taking place in the Lalgarh area over the past few weeks. Land mines have also been recovered at Binpur in West Midnapore district.

In another development, last week several thousand residents of 31 villages in the Satdhara Gram Panchyet area under Jhargram police station held a public meeting to protest against alleged PCPA and Maoist torture.

They also formed an organisation named 'Jana Jagaran Mancha' to resist the strong-arm tactics of PCPA activists in their villages.

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