Home India News Grand worship of goddess Durga in Maoist belt

Grand worship of goddess Durga in Maoist belt


Kolkata : After an year’s hiatus, Durga Puja is again being celebrated with traditional pomp in the Maoist-affected areas of West Bengal’s West Midnapore district with large crowds seen at the marquees.

The frequent Maoist attacks and operations conducted by the joint forces to flush out the leftwing rebels from their hideouts had forced many villagers to flee their homes last year.

Many of the community pujas were either not held or organised only in a token manner.

But with the joint forces now dominating the areas and the number of Maoist raids also declining this time, a large number of people have returned home in the months leading to the five-day festival.

A villager of Dhararmpur in Lalgarh, once the core area of the Maoist offensive, said: “Last year, most of the pujas were not held because of the uncertainty and violence but we are celebrating and worshipping the goddess in at least 15 localities this year.”

“In Dharampur, we organised one of the largest pujas of the area,” he added.

Last year, the puja could not be organised because the main organiser – Communist Party of India-Marxist zonal committee secretary Anuj Pandey – was forced to flee his home which had been ransacked and torched by the Maoists.

“He is back this year and we are organising the puja again in a grand manner,” the villager said.

“The situation has changed because the tension of Maoist violence has subsided and many people have returned home,” West Midnapore Police Superintendent Manoj Verma told IANS.

“The joint forces have been continuously fighting the Maoists for the last one year. The guerrillas are not as strong in the area as they were earlier. We are providing every assistance and security so that the puja can be celebrated in a grand manner,” he added.

Verma said the police had opened kiosks at some pujas to provide assistance to the people and also make them aware of the good work that the police were doing to ensure their safety and security.