‘Maoist’ posters outside college,court campuses invoke ‘comrade Bhagat Singh’https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/maoist-posters-outside-college-court-campuses-invoke-comrade-bhagat-singh/

‘Maoist’ posters outside college,court campuses invoke ‘comrade Bhagat Singh’

It had been suspected that the Maoists are active in the Pune.

With the possible motive of making their presence felt in urban areas of the state,the sleeper cell of the banned Communist Party of India (CPI-Maoist) are suspected to have left posters at several prominent parts of the city,particularly colleges,the Patrakar Bhavan and bus stops,as well as the Shivajinagar court,places where they would get immediate attention.

It had been suspected that the Maoists are active in the Pune. But on Tuesday,The Indian Express found posters suspected to have been put up by the Maharashtra State Committee of CPI-Maoist at the entrance of Patrakar Bhavan in Navi Peth,Garware College,S P College,the Shivajinagar court as well as the BRTS bus stop at Swargate junction,located only a few meters from the police station.

It is also being suspected that the Maoists may have left posters in more areas of the city.

The Maoists might have secretly placed them on or before March 23,to mark the martyrdom of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh. These rebels,who call themselves revolutionaries,have,for the past few years,been “commemorating” March 23 as “Shahid Din”. Around the same time last year,posters,suspected to have been left by the Maharashtra State Committee of CPI – Maoist,were found in different parts of Pune.

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Although the ATS and city police had investigated last year’s incident,they had not been able to narrow down on any suspect.

This time,the posters carry photographs of Bhagat Singh. Through the posters,the Naxals have set apart this “saptah” (week) between March 23 and March 29 as a week to remember ‘Comrade Bhagat Singh’ and demand rights for their fellow “revolutionaries” currently lodged in jails.

This time,their demands are: status of political prisoners to revolutionaries lodged in jail,all facilities provided to any ordinary prisoner be given to those sentenced to life imprisonment,right to private meetings with inmates,proper facilities for jail inmates as per jail manual,lifting of the ban on literature given to revolutionaries,and privacy for female prisoners when needed.

In posters placed around March 23 last year,the Maoists had called the government corrupt and unjust and demanded unconditional release of Kobad Ghandy,Vijay,Vikram,Madanlal,Mahesh,Bhanu and Anjela. Calling them “revolutionaries”,the posters had called a bandh on March 23 in Maharashtra,Chhattisgarh,Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. These posters were found outside Patrakar Bhavan,District Collectorate,and some bus stops and buses.

However,this time,the posters have also been found outside prominent city colleges as well. This is possibly an indication that the Maoists are now trying to make inroads into the college campuses and other places where the concentration of the educated youth is high.

Maharashtra ATS investigations have,in fact,revealed that the Maoists do have plans to set up a strong base in the urban areas,through cultural and social youth groups in colleges.

In April 2011,ATS had arrested Angela Sontakke,the self-proclaimed secretary of Golden Corridor Committee of CPI-Maoists,which aimed at recruiting youths from urban belts area of Pune,Mumbai,Thane,Nashik and Ahmedabad. Angela allegedly operated from a house in Paud area of Pune.

ATS had also arrested six others — a Fergusson college student Siddhartha Bhosale,a Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) poet Dhawale Dhengle,Sushma Ramteke alias Shraddha Gurav,Jenny,Krutika and Jyoti Chorge – from Pune under several Sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for allegedly spreading Naxal ideologies of armed struggle against the government.

The Bombay High Court had recently granted bail to all six,stating that they might have been sympathizers of Maoist philosophy,but not active members of the banned outfit.

Meanwhile,Angela’s husband Milind Teltumbde,reportedly a top CPI-Maoist operative and six KKM members – Sheetal Sathe,Sachin Mali,Ramesh Gaychor,Sagar Gorkhe,Prashant Kamble and Santosh Shelar – are still absconding.

Angela and Milind are suspected to have indoctrinated young KKM artists and used the organisation as a “front” to expand their base in Pune. As per ATS information,KKM members Kamble and Shelar, who hail from the slums of Kasewadi in Pune,are suspected to have joined the armed movement as well.

Last month,a team of Gondia police was in Pune to investigate the “Green Future Foundation” that they suspect is a “front” for the alleged Maoists to work in urban areas. In December 2010,Gondia police arrested Bhimrao Bhowate (42) and his wife Sunanda,both known to Milind,for their alleged links to the outfit. What led them to the city was the identity card that the arrested man carried.

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Police found a Green Future Foundation ID card on Bhowate,which carried his photograph,but not his real name. Instead,the card stated that he was Sharad Nimje,a member of Green Future Foundation. The card also mentioned two addresses of the organistion – one being Anjali building,Ekbote Colony,Pune-42 and the other Ravi Nagar,Nagpur.