Monday, November 26, 2007

Land war teens turn ‘rebels’

Land war teens turn ‘rebels’

Midnapore, Nov. 25: At least six Nandigram girls who allegedly underwent arms training under Maoists have left the area with them, said intelligence sources in West Midnapore.

The rebels have apparently recruited 10 Bhoomi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee supporters, including the six girls in their teens.

Sources said Radhi Ghorai and Jharna Giri had become experts in guerrilla warfare and were taken to Jharkhand for advanced training.

On August 22, Radhi, Jharna, Nayantara and three others — Chittaranjan Sith, Tapan Mondal and Bipul Samaddar — were caught at Kharagpur station. Chittaranjan and Tapan are teens and Bipul 24 years old.

Bipul, from Sonachura, told police he was from Calcutta and had contacts in Jharkhand. He was “taking the Nandigram residents to Ghatshila to work as domestic helps”.

A intelligence branch officer said: “We had information that a team from Nandigram was going to Jharkhand with Maoists for training. But we could not establish that they were the ones we caught.”

“They said they were going in search of jobs without telling their parents. We called the parents and released them.”

The November 11 arrest of Jharna’s father Radheyshyam, who apparently joined the Maoists two years ago, woke up the security establishment. He was one of the three Maoists held in South 24-Parganas’ Kulti while fleeing Nandigram during the CPM offensive.

Jharna was in Class IX of KCA High School in Sonachura. Her mother Sefali said: “I told her not to get involved with the Maoists time and again. My husband was poor. He earned little by repairing husking machines. The Maoists promised him Rs 2,000 a month if he worked for them.”

After CPM supporters took control of Sonachura and its neighbouring villages on November 11, the police questioned Sanjay Sith, a villager who admitted having taken arms training from the Maoists. He named others who were part of the camps.

Radhi’s mother Subarna said some women among the Maoists took her daughter away saying she would be taken to Calcutta. “But they tried to take her to Jharkhand. We brought her back with the others from Kharagpur. My daughter fled home on November 11 when CPM cadres took control of Sonachura,” Sefali said.

Nayantara’s mother Kalpana said her daughter had fled with the Maoists before the recent round of violence broke out on November 6. “She was 17 and a Class IX student of KCA High School. She used to take training from the Maoists along with her brother Gobinda and her father.” Gobinda and Ramkrishna also fled Sonachura, on November 11.

“My husband had quarrelled with the Maoists a number of times over my daughter. He told them to bring her back but they said she had been sent on an assignment,” said Kalpana.

Gobinda, she suspects, has gone with the Maoists. Ramkrishna might be hiding somewhere in Nandigram.