Statesman News Service
MIDNAPORE, Oct. 25: Having failed to contain the Maoist activities in Midnapore West, Bankura and Purulia over the years by various means like organisation of football matches, setting up of health camps, construction of tube wells, opening up of schools and other projects to improve the police-public relations and to keep the people of the region happy, the police have now taken steps to choke the income line of the ultras.
According to the police, the Maoists thrive on money collected from businessmen, contractors and thikadars of the areas which are under threat.
The police have spread a dragnet to identify those businessmen who supply money to the Maoists and, if intercepted, stringent action would be taken against them.
But the leaders of the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) said that the businessmen alone should not be harassed for financially supporting the Maoists.
Apart from the ultras, the ruling party cadres also force traders, contractors and thikadars to give money to build up a buffer fund in order to organise massacre as they had perpetrated in Kespur, Garbeta, Nanoor, Nandigram and many other places, Mr Dipak Bose, a central secretariat member of the APDR, alleged.
"Then why do the police single out the Maoists and have set their guns against the traders and the contractors for helping the extremists?" Mr Bose asked. In fact, traders and contractors would not have yielded to the threat and the pressure tactics of the Maoists, if the police had come to their rescue in a big way, Mr Bose said. The truth is that the police are afraid of the Maoists themselves. A case in this point is the incident in which a Maoist squad stormed a contractor's tent at Chhurimara in Belopahari on the Bengal-Jharkhand border on 22 November 2006.
The ultras torched four trucks, three pay loaders and a generator by pouring 12 drums of diesel stacked by the contractor.
They also took away two-wheelers and set fire to two thatched sheds, besides hitting his workers with rifle butts.
But the jawans of the Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) did not dare to challenge the Maoists during the two-hour long operation, though they had camped barely 100 metres away.
The contractor allegedly did not pay the Maoists. He was engaged in the construction of a 14 km-stretch of road to Kankrajhore from Chakadoba under the Prime Minister's Gramin Sarak Yojna. The work of the Rs 2.5 crore project has been suspended since the incident.
It has, however, been learnt that work will resume soon as the contractor has agreed to concede to the demands of the Maoists.