In a meeting with surrendered Maoists at the state Secretariat on Tuesday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asked them “not to listen or talk to former police officers”, in an apparent reference to former West Midnapore SP Bharati Ghosh. Around 355 surrendered Maoists were given appointment letters as special home guards in Jangalmahal, which was once a Maoist stronghold covering West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia.
“I will tell you not to talk or listen to former police officers. If former police officers say something to you, do not pay attention to it. Listen only to those police officers who are presently in service. They will fully cooperate with you,” Mamata said. Ghosh, who was once considered close to Mamata, allegedly fell out of favour with the ruling Trinamool Congress after the Sabang bypoll. She is at present being investigated by the CID on extortion charges.
State Home Secretary Atri Bhattacharya, Additional Director General (Law and Order) Anuj Sharma and the police superintendents of the districts under Jangalmahal were present at the meeting.
According to a statement issued by the government, Mamata said, “We have specific information that some people are trying to create trouble in Jangalmahal area by creating divisions between Hindus, Muslims and Christians. Remember, the Maoists still have quite a strong presence in Jharkhand. So you all have to be very careful and need to cooperate in strengthening the administrative network in the region by constantly interacting with the police.”