KOLKATA, Jan. 5: While trade union leaders are preparing themselves for the bargaining agent election at the Uttarpara plant of Hindustan Motors scheduled for 9 January, district police officers are fearing action by Maoist ultras during the poll.
To thwart any possible attacks by Maoist rebels, district police officers urged the SP, Hooghly, Mr Rajib Mishra, to provide special security cover to ensure peaceful polling.
A suspected member of the Maoist action squad, Peoples' Liberation Guerrilla Army, Sumit Sarkar, was arrested from the factory premises on 10 May, last year during a clash between two groups of the plant's employees.
The clash ensued after the factory management issued a suspension-of- work notice citing "labour unrest" at the plant.
Officers from Midnapore-West and their counterparts in Purulia had interrogated Sarkar who was wanted in a few cases of criminal conspiracy against the state.
Interrogation revealed that CPI (Maoist) activists had been trying to build a support base in the industrial hub of Hooghly, by cashing in on the stand-off between the management and employees of Hindusthan Motors' Uttarpara plant.
Sleuths of the district Intelligence branch and Criminal Investigation Department were informed about some leaders of a labour union, which is one among five trade unions fighting the polls. Movements of these leaders belonging to a Naxalite trade union are being watched. Mr Prabir Roy, inspector-in-charge of Uttarpara police station, said the security arrangement proposal made by the police station to the district police authorities recently, had not been granted. The officer, however, didn't disclose what kind of "security cover" the police station sought to thwart untoward incidents.
"We are gathering Intelligence inputs. We have deployed policemen in plainclothes who are keeping a close watch on the factory premises. We are patrolling the area. Some pickets have been posted at various corners of the factory premises," Mr Roy said.
Mr Mishra said adequate police arrangements would be made to ensure peaceful polling.
Mr Sunil Sarkar, CPI-M Hooghly district secretariat member, said: "It has been established that some leaders from trade unions have connections with Maoists ultras. They had attacked supporters belonging to our trade union. We have asked our supporters to stay alert."
January 5, 2008