The tenuous peace prevailing in the Jangalmahal for over a year was shattered with the killing of a man some described as a Trinamul Congress supporter, around midnight. The murder took place in a village in Jhargram in West Midnapore district. Girish Sahis’ bullet-ridden body was found at around midnight at Chapashol village. A bunch of hand-written Maoist posters were strewn around the body.
At around 10 pm on Thursday night, Girish Sahis went with his friend Srinivas Mahato to water his field. After some time, Srinivas returned home. Girish’s family believed that he was still working on his field. However, at around midnight the villagers heard a gunshot. When they went towards the field, they found Girish lying in a pool of blood.
“The bullet-riddled body of Girish Sahis was found in the wee hours of Friday. Though a few Maoist posters were found lying nearby, we are yet to ascertain whether Maoists were involved in the killing,” superintendent of police, Jhargram police district, Bharati Ghosh said. Although some villagers said that the slain farmer was a supporter of the ruling Trinamul Congress, the police denied the connection. “We have found nothing which suggests that Sahis belonged to any political party,” Ms Ghosh claimed.
The posters which were found near the body warned the state government that it could not expect peace to be restored in the Jangalmahal by recruiting local tribals as police constables. There was denunciation of the killing of Kishenji. The posters also demanded the withdrawal of joint forces from the region.
This is the first murder committed by the rebels since the death of Kishenji. Since then many top rebel leaders, including Suchitra Mahato, have surrendered and returned to the mainstreams and many have been arrested. The various welfare measures chief minister Mamata Banerjee has launched in the Jangalmahal, including distribution of rice for Rs 2 per kg, have yielded results. The last person to be murdered by the Maoist was a Jharkhan Party leader, Babu Bose, who was killed in Jhargram’s Dohijuri area on September 25.