LALGARH: A day after the West Midnapore district administration admitted its failure in tackling the Maoists, the Red rebels in a brazen show of strength held an armed rally in Lalgarh about 200 km from Kolkata.
Attended by around 1,000 villagers, the rally was held on Friday evening at Domohani, barely 2 km from Dharampur police station, where the rebels assured people that they were completely prepared to take on the armed forces. ‘‘None of our people has been killed or arrested,’’ claimed Maoist leader Bikash.
Police, too, were busy devising a new strategy to counter the Maoists at a meeting in Lalgarh. With chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee scheduled to visit Jangalmahal on Tuesday, the meeting definitely sent out a strong signal to the administration.
Addressing the meeting barely a kilometre away from the spot on the Dharampur-Lalgarh road where the central forces marched on Friday, Bikash admitted to killing three CPM workers Jhontu Soren, Naru Samanta and Asit Samanta who have been missing since June 14.
‘‘We have served the death penalty on people who exploited and tortured tribals. Who started this violence? When the villagers started their movement at Sijua, Salboni and Khasjangal, who assaulted them,’’ asked the Maoist leader. ‘‘These are examples of peoples rage,’’ he said.
Bikash, however, denied their involvement in Wednesday’s murder of three Jharkhand Party (Naren) men. He also denied the Maoist hand in the abduction of two policemen from Brindabanpur. After targeting CPM leaders and party offices, Maoists seem to have trained their guns on Congress now. They have threatened to stop Congress leaders from opening their party offices and do any work.