There is an eerie calm in Junglemahal with the fear of retaliation by the Maoists continuing to haunt security personnel and frontline leaders of the anti-Maoist group — Santras Birodhi Janajagaran Mancha — which was formed in 2010 with the help of Trinamool Congress leaders.
Raids by security forces to nab key Maoist leaders like Jayanta and Bikash have proved futile. Police say the new rung of Maoist leaders and commanders operate from across the Jharkhand border and frequent areas like Banspahari, Velaidiha, Simulpal, Pathar Chakri, Labani and Sakhapala in Belpahari after the dusk in order to recruit fresh youths. Most of these villages are located in the remotest part of Junglemahal and police fear to go there after sunset.
Snehashis Vakta, a key functionary of Santras Birodhi Janajagaran Mancha, said people living in these villages have complained a number of times that Maoist cadres come there and extort money from them. “We have informed this to Jhargram SP Bharati Ghosh and are trying to mobilise our cadres there to motivate people to fight against the Maoists. Since these areas are difficult to be accessed, we are adopting a cautious approach,” said Snehashis, who lost his brother Soumen in a Maoist attack on July 12.
Since the Maoists are expert in carrying out ambush by laying trap, he said, the anti-Maoist body is formulating an effective strategy to deal with the Maoists in the remotest corners of Junglamahal.
A senior police officer said that after death of Kishenji, Maoist groups in Belpahari are now operating under the leadership of Singrai Tudu alias Bikash and his wife Tara. Frequent raids in Junglemahal to nab the most wanted Maoist couple have proved futile so far. Police have been tipped off that Bikash has planned to attack Belpahari police camp on the lines of the strike in Silda EFR camp in 2010.
A resident of Lalgarh and a member of the CPI (Maoist) state committee member, Bikash has been given the assignment to reorganise the party in Junglemahal. Another Maoist leader Madan Mahato and his wife Jaba are assisting Bikash, according to the police.
According to intelligence officials, all these four key Maoist leaders are now hiding in Jharkhand. Madan and Jaba seldom come to their Belpahari residence. “Since the Maoists have managed to hold support base in a few pockets of Belpahari, police do not get information about the Maoist couple’s arrival in Belpahari on the right time,” the officer said adding that they often receive reports that Manasha Hembram alias Jayanta visit Gaidha and Fulberia villages and some areas in Jambani sometimes.
The Maoists have targeted frontline leaders of Santras Birodhi Janajagaran Mancha like Nisith Mahato, Lakshmikant Baske, Fullai Soren, Santanu Mahato, Bikash Mahato, Ranjit Ghosh. Police have given security cover to Nisith, the secretary of the outfit and a resident of Balidiha in Jamboni, and Baske. “We hold meeting with police almost at regular interval and give them information about Maoist hideouts. A meeting between some senior Santras Birodi Janajagaran Mancha and a senior officer of Bankura police was held a couple of week back,” a member of the organisation said.