Junglemahal peaceful, shutdown call partial

Junglemahal comprises the forested areas of West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura where the left-wing extremists have a stronghold.

Kolkata: The seven-day deadline to Maoists in
Junglemahal to lay down arms by West Bengal Chief Minister
Mamata Banerjee passed on Saturday with the ultras calling a 24-hour
bandh in defiance, that failed to evoke much response.

There was not much response to the bandh in West
Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts, the forested areas
of which are collectively known as Junglemahal.
Surprisingly, the People`s Committee against Police
Atrocities (PCPA), dubbed a Maoist-backed organisation of
tribals, campaigned against the shutdown last night with
loudspeakers in Balarampur, Bagmundi and Bandwan in Purulia
district, police said.

In Delhi, asked about her stand on the threat from
Maoists, the chief minister today said she was against
bloodshed and wanted them to join the mainstream.

"They are our brothers and sisters and should come forward
and join the national mainstream and whatever they want from
the government we are willing to discuss. We will give them
full package," she said.

"I am ready for talks, but we are against bloodshed or
killings. Individual killings will not give any result."

The chief minister at her rally at Jhargram on October
15 had given the Maoists the seven-day ultimatum and had
branded them as "supari killers" who did not believe in any

Defying the bandh call and the Maoist dictat against
accepting government jobs, thousands of tribal youths cycled
to police stations from distant areas to collect application
forms for jobs in posts of junior constables, homeguards and
the National Volunteer Force.

Reports said that former PCPA convenor Chhatradhar
Mahato`s son collected one such application form.

The chief minister had announced 10,000 jobs in the
NVF, homeguards and as junior constables recently.
Reports from the three districts said that train
services were normal while banks and post offices in all the
three districts were open and life remained more or less
normal except for some pockets, the reports said.

Buses did not run in some pockets while shops in some
areas remained closed.

The shutdown was peaceful except the finding of a
steel can with fire crackers inside at Dubrajpur in Jhargram
subdivision in West Midnapore district.

The reports said that Trinamool Congress supporters
took out motorcycle processions in Jhargram and in Purulia
town in protest against the bandh.

The joint forces were on intensified patrol in all the
three districts.


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