TNN, Jan 12
KOLKATA: Over 150 undertrial prisoners arrested in connection with Maoist activities have gone on an indefinite hunger strike in different jails of West Bengal since Wednesday morning. The strike has been launched as a protest against the ‘mass killings’ at Netai village of Lalgarh where seven unarmed villagers were shot dead by the CPM cadres on Friday.
Jail sources said that the Maoist undertrials in Midnapore central jail refused to eat their food in the morning and soon the reports of the same came from other central jails where Maoist undertrials were lodged. Several senior Maoists leaders like former state secretary of the outfit Himadri Sen Roy alias Somen, state committee leader Telegu Deepak, Madhusudam Mondal alias Narayan in Alipur Central Jail have been organizing the hunger strike inside jails. Similar attempts have been made by other jailed leaders at Krishnanagar jail and Jalpaiguri central jail.
Jail sources said, Chhatradhar Mahato, the leader of the Maoists backed tribal outfit Peoples Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA), announced the hunger strike programme of the prisoners in Midnapore central jail this morning. Mahato has been in the jail since November 2009. Two other activists Raja Sarkhel and Prasun Chatterjee brought together other PCPA and Maoist activists to join the strike. At least 146 prison inmates joined the strike organized by the Maoist leaders.
“They are demanding immediate arrest of the culprits involved in the killings at Netai. They have also demanded withdrawal of section 144 CrPC from Jangalmahal,’ a jail official said.
Jail officials have started negotiating with the Maoist prisoners. But the activists have refused to end their strike.