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Maoist-backed unit calls bandh to protest general secretary's arrest

Raktima Bose

Claims Manoj Mahato has been framed


“Police are controlled by the CPI(M)”

“Troops and police providing CPI(M) cadres with arms”


KOLKATA: The Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee (PSBJC) called a 24-hour-bandh on September 10 in the three south-western districts of West Bengal in protest against the arrest of the outfit's general secretary, Manoj Mahato, by the Paschim Medinipur district police on September 3.

Claiming that Manoj Mahato has been “wrongfully arrested and framed in several cases,” the outfit's spokesperson, Asit Mahato, appealed to the people of the region to protest against such “atrocities of the police who are again controlled by the Communist Party of India (Marxist).”

“While Manoj Mahato was arrested from his house, the police initially denied arresting him and later said that he has been arrested during an operation.

“Our other leader, Umakanto Mahato, was also killed in cold blood by the security forces rather than in an encounter as claimed by the police,” Asit Mahato told The Hindu over telephone from an undisclosed location on Monday.

Incidentally, Asit Mahato has been declared as one of the main accused in the Jnaneswari Express derailment case by the Central Bureau of Investigation and is absconding.

Of the other two main accused in the case that killed 150 people on May 28, Bapi Mahato has already been arrested while Umakanto Mahato has been killed in an encounter on August 27.

Saying that Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram's acknowledging the presence of armed camps in the region and calling for their withdrawal was a mere “publicity stunt,” Asit Mahato alleged that the security forces and the police provide the CPI(M) cadres with arms and unless the security forces are withdrawn, the situation would not change.

Apart from the bandh on September 10, the PSBJC would also observe ‘black day' on Tuesday and ‘demonstration day' on September 8 and 9 in the districts of Paschim Medinipur, Bankura and Purulia.

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