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How PCAPA is run

The People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities ( PCAPA),which is suspected to be behind the Jnaneswari Express carnage,is essentially a kindergarten for growing Maoists.....

Written by Madhuparna Das | Sardiha |
May 30, 2010 11:11:31 pm

The People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities ( PCAPA),which is suspected to be behind the Jnaneswari Express carnage,is essentially a kindergarten for growing Maoists. It is where the initiation process of a Bengal Maoist begins.

The outfit,originally set up as a frontal organisation to further the cause of the Maoists,has been increasingly sharpening its skills in drawing blood from who they conceive as enemies.

The organisation has undergone drastic transformation particularly after its leader Chhatradhar Mahato was put behind bars and Lal Mohan Tudu,another front-ranking leader,was killed under mysterious circumstances.

The PCAPA was formed on November 8,2008 after the mine blast attack on West Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s convoy in Salboni and the police action that followed in the villages in Lalgarh. A body set to prevent atrocities of the police slowly turned into a frontal organisation of the CPI-Maoists in the middle of 2009.

According to a report by the Research and Development wing of the Special Task Force (STF) of the Anti-Naxalite operation in the left-wing extremism-affected (LWE) districts in Bengal,the organisational structure of the PCAPA is a virtual replica of the CPI-Maoists.

At the ground level,the PCAPA starts with booth committees and above it,the anchal committees. The central committee of the PCAPA includes all anchal committees in three LWE districts (West Midnapore,Bankura and Purulia) and has 110 members. Like the CPI-Maoists,the PCAPA has a Core Committee,which formulates strategy and policies of the organisation. The Core Committee has 21 members who initiated and spearheaded the Lalgarh movement at the end of 2008. However,most of the Core Committee (CC) members have either been arrested or killed in last five-seven months.

“At least 15 of the 21 CC members have been arrested which include Chhatradhar Mahato,chief of PCAPA,Debashis Banerjee,Vivekananda Sahu,Sukhshanti Baskey,Bhagbat Hansda,Sundar Mandi and Kinkar Singh while Lal Mohan Tudu,president of the PCAPA was killed in an encounter with CRPF at Narcha in Katapahari in February,2010,” said a senior police official of the STF. As per police records and the PCAPA sources,the PCAPA is at present run by Santosh Patro,the closest associate of Chhtradhar Mahato while the PCAPA was formed. Santosh Patro,Maoist leader Kishenji’s right-hand man in the PCAPA,is at present the secretary of the Core Committee. Patro chalks out and finalises every action of the PCAPA,of course,under instructions from top-ranking Maoists leaders.

Patro never comes out in public and does not speak with the media. To keep a clean image,Asit Mahato who was not even an important member of the PCAPA was made the spokesperson because of his clean track record.

The PCAPA was first brought into action in setting afire the sponge iron factory in Lodhashuli and in ransacking the zoo in Jhargram. After the successful operations,the PCAPA was assigned more important and significant actions including detaining the Rajdhani Express at Banstala last year and damaging the rail track in Gidhni which caused another derailment.

However,derailing the Jnaneswari Express which killed over 100 civilians is their biggest operation so far,though the original plan was to derail a goods train.

The funding of the organisation comes mostly from extortion. They have chalked out three-four ways of extorting money.

n The fee from school teachers and government servants is fixed at half their salary.

n Money is extorted from truck drivers passing through the state and national highways in West Midnapore district.

n Funds are routinely collected from the villagers in the name of “tribal revolution.”

n Another source is the industries located in the Jhargram-Lalgarh tribal belt.

According to the records available with the police,the PCAPA has devised an interesting method of getting money out of the industries. “The PCAPA tells the management that if they have to run the industry in Jhargram then they have to throw out the CPM members and recruit the PCAPA men in their place. Once they are recruited,they demand their salaries to be doubled. And the PCAPA members start contributing half their salary to the organisation,” said a senior police officer.

The PCAPA runs Village Defence Committees which include youngsters and even children. This Village Defence Committee members form the Village Defence Squad. “The Village Defence Sqaud members are assigned for the action in local areas. The squad members were involved in Sankrail and Silda incidents. At present the Lalgarh and Jhargram Anchal committees remain the stronghold of the PCAPA,” said the official.

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