January 9, 2011 3:54:07 am
Joint security forces and the state police deployed at Lalgarh police station took four hours to reach the place of violence at Netai village yesterday where eight villagers were shot dead and 18 were critically injured.
One Shaktipada Ghorui,a retired NVF jawan,had called up Lalgarh police station,which is just 2 km from the spot,to inform about the tense situation in the village. I had called up the thana before the confrontation began at 7.30 morning. If they had come on time,my son would have been alive today, said Ghorui. His son Bhaktipada died in the firing yesterday.
He says a large number of villagers had gathered outside a house in which stayed armed CPM cadres. After protests began,a group of armed CPM cadres came out of the house and fired indiscriminately on the protesting villagers.
Other eyewitnesses said the villagers protested when the the CPM Harmads and leaders camping in the village for some time demanded to recruit at least one youth from each family in the village for a resistance group and join them. The angry villagers gathered outside the armed CPM camp about 7 in the morning. Many of the villagers informed the police station about the tension building up. According to them,the Harmad camp of armed CPM cadres was set up on December 17 with the knowledge of police and security forces.
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When I realised the police will not come,I went to the thana at 8 and told Ashokbabu (the inspector in-charge of Lalgarh PS) to send forces, said Banbihari Roy,a resident of Netai.
Since this is a LWE-infested area,we do not respond frequently to such calls. These calls could have been a trap to take police into remote villages and blow them up.
We move very carefully because the metal roads are dangerous for our movement. Maoists can easily plant landmines on such roads, said the IC.
The delay,according to villagers,is part of the ploy to stop protest against the presence of armed CPM cadres camps in Netai. They said firing began only after the arrival of two CPM leaders Joydev Giri and Chandi Karan who monitor these camps.
I was working by the side of the road when I saw Chandi Karan and Joydev Giri enter the village riding on a motorbike. Soon after they came,the armed cadres opened fire, said Srikumar Sardar ( name changed),a carpenter.
Police said two CPM cadres were arrested in connection with the firing. Abani Singh and Subhen Mondal were picked up by police on Friday evening.
Meanwhile,Chandi Karan,CPM local committee secretary,said the allegations of his visiting the village were baseless and that he was 14 km away from the spot at the time of incidence.
The SP,Midnapore,Manoj Verma in a report to the government,however,stated that a number of CPM supporters who had been ousted from the village by Maoists had returned and taken shelter in a house there. On Saturday,the Maoists and the PCAPA members had surrounded the house and asked the incumbents to vacate the place. A clash ensued in which firearms were used and eight villagers died,the report states.
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