Pro-Maoist group to agitate against spokesman’s arrest


Kolkata : The pro-Maoist tribal body, Peoples’ Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) will observe a four-day agitation starting Tuesday in the three ultra-left dominated districts of West Bengal to protest the arrest of its spokesman Manoj Mahato, a group leader said.

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PCAPA’s former spokesperson Asit Mahato, also one of the prime accused in the May 28 Gyaneshwari Express tragedy in which 148 people were killed, said: “We would observe a black day Sep 7 followed by blockades on Sep 8 and 9 and a 24-hour shutdown in three districts Sep 10.”

Manoj Mahato was whisked off by the police Sep 3 but only he was shown formally arrested Sep 4 after the PCAPA threatened to launch a movement, alleging that police may kill him in a staged gunfight.

Asit, Manoj’s predecessor as PCAPA spokesman, but removed after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) announced a cash reward against him, said: “The name of the next spokesperson of the organisation would be announced after the PCAPA’s central committee meeting to be held shortly.”

Asit, who has managed to evade arrest so far, also urged the tribal people of Junglemahal (Maoist affected forested areas of West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura) to observe the agitation programme.

He said the PCAPA members will troop into the streets to prevent vehicles from plying in the area Sep 8 and 9, besides observing a 24-hour shutdown in West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts Sep 10.