Don’t trust Mamata, Naxal prisoners tell Irom Sharmila

Maoists in West Bengal jails have urged Manipur activist Irom Sharmila to have no faith in the genuineness of chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

In a letter to Sharmila on February 6, the rebels have warned her and the people of Manipur against Banerjee, who held a poll rally in
Imphal on January 25 and voiced the activist’s demand for the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

The Maoists said before coming to power, Banerjee had promised to work for the withdrawal of the central paramilitary forces in the jangalmahal (Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore), but later backtracked.

Banerjee had also met Sharmila at the hospital and “appreciated” her struggle.

The jailed rebels have shown solidarity with Sharmila’s stand.

“She gave similar commitments before the assembly elections here also… She held rallies with Chattradhar Mahato (who heads an organisation that protests against police atrocities). However, after coming to power she did not keep her promise,” the letter said.

“Her government is showing itself as more brutal (than) the Left Front regime,” said the letter, signed by V Venkateshwara Rao and “political prisoners of West Bengal”.

Sharmila has been on a fast for the past 11 years to protest against the AFSPA in her state.

The letter also highlights issues like problems in jangalmahal, farmers’ suicides and deaths of newborns in hospitals.

Trinamool leader Sultan Ahmed said: “Maoists are frustrated and have lost ground in Bengal. That’s why they are doing all this.”

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