During its trip to Lalgarh, several encounters of The Indian Express with the zonal leaders of the CPM proved that panic has struck the party hard ever since the tribal agitation began on November 5.
Those blessed with clout are granted security personnel from the state’s armed forces. The officials in the district administration confided that over 100 grassroots leaders now move with private protectors. The threat perception is said to be “real” from Maoists, who have strong pockets of influence in the region.
On way to Lalgarh, at Bottola Chalk near the local CPM party office, The Indian Express met Anuj Pande, the party’s zonal committee secretary. Moving around with gun-totting securitymen provided by the government, Pande still looks a scared man.
Since November 5, the party office has downed its shutters. That very day, the tribal agitation had begun in protest against police excesses on women during a night raid.
But comrades like Pande fear that in the Maoists-fuelled agitation, grassroot CPM leaders would be the natural targets.
Another of such leaders was West Midnapore district secretary Dipak Sarkar, who, unlike Pande, moved around in an SUV, flanked by two men toting automatic guns.
Sarkar was aghast at the suggestion that his precautions may not be quite necessary. “Are you suggesting that we commit suicide by moving without any security cover?” he demanded. “Our leaders are being attacked over and over again. The zonal committee secretary had been attacked thrice,” he added.
NS Nigam, the district magistrate of West Midnapore, admitted that the administration has to take requests for security cover by elected representatives very seriously.
“I am not sure about the exact number of people who have been provided with armed guards,” he said, “but it should be well over a hundred”.
Even so, CPM sources say it is not possible to depend on the police altogether. Already, many applications with them are pending. And given the figures, it is understandable. There are at least 10 zonal committees and 20 local committees in the troubled zone. That means over 200 panic-stricken leaders who demand security cover.
So what do the state police have to say about it?
Rajesh Singh, Superintendent of Police, West Midnapore, flatly refused to discuss issues that relate to “security and intelligence”.
“We want to provide security to everyone,” said Nigam, “but that may not be possible always”.
Salboni-Lalgarh-Belpahariâ€™s Maoist groups are getting support from mamata and her allies. As Mamata and her allies opposing industrialisations, The all problem at this area continued till the departure of JINDAL STEEL PROJECT. Like NANO project from singur. Mamata now want farming at singur land. Yet the land occupied by Tatas. She also opposes any industrialisation by any company. She also want global tender for industrialisation. Good, but being a MP why not she demand this type of global tender in Gujarat or any other state of India. Why she opposing the industrialisation in west Bengal. She also supporting the terrorist group like Maoist ,kamtapruri, GMM those who are Killing innocent Lady health worker, school teacher , police constable ,owner of little Ration Shop