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BackYou are here: NewsIndia "Mamata raising another Salwa Judum"

India

"Mamata raising another Salwa Judum"

Kolkata, Sep 19 (IANS) Litterateur and Maoist sympathiser Varavara Rao Monday accused West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of raising an armed group similar to Salwa Judum, the anti-Maoist civil militia in Chhattisgarh, to crush the guerrillas in the state. Rao equated Banerjee with Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, who had formed the infamous Salwa Judum that was recently banned by the Supreme Court.

‘She is following Raman Kumar (Singh) in toto. If they had the Salwa Judum, her party has the Bhairav Vahini. Harmads (goons alleged to be under Left Front patronage) have shifted their allegiance to the Vahini and are carrying out the same atrocities,' said Rao.

He also accused the chief minister of going back on her pre-poll promises.

‘Riding on her promises of withdrawing joint forces from Junglemahal (Maoist-affected forested areas in western part of the state), and releasing political prisoners, she came to power. But it seems she has no intention to fulfil them.

‘She is using the same atrocious methods which the (erstwhile) Left Front unleashed to crush the movement. People are being frequently arrested in the name of being Maoists. Since her government has come to power, 75 people have been arrested for being Maoists. The atrocities by joint forces continue unabated,' said Rao.

Rao said the government needs to create a conducive and congenial environment for peace talks with the Maoists.

‘This environment can be created by withdrawing the joint forces from Junglemahal, releasing political prisoners unconditionally and doing away with the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA),' he said.

Banerjee had appointed a team of interlocutors to facilitate talks with the guerrillas.

Rao also demanded a simultaneous ceasefire for six months for facilitating the talks.

He described union Home Minister P. Chidambaram as a ‘head of police' who dictated who should be released or arrested.

Chidambaram is scheduled to visit the state Wednesday.

Various rights organisations and intellectuals, including Rao, will visit Junglemahal Tuesday to study the condition of people living there.