PCPA-sponsored "bandh" paralyses life in West Midnapore

A 48-hour "bandh" (general strike) called by the People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA), a frontal organisation of the CPI (Maoist), began today in the Jangalmahal area paralysing life in West Midnapore district of West Bengal and partially affecting it in Purulia and Bankura districts.

The PCPA has launched the stir to protest the arrest of its convener Ajit Mahato and four of his associates on "false" grounds.

"The PCPA is not a banned organisation. Therefore, these arrests are meaningless," a spokesperson for the outfit told UNI.

Incidentally, the state government had recently informed Calcutta High Court that the PCPA was banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

The organisation also demanded withdrawal of the joint forces from the Jangalmahal area, comprising parts of the three districts, to "stop the atrocities" on innocent villagers.

Buses and cars stayed off the roads while offices and educational institutions remained closed. Streets wore a deserted look.

Jhagram Sub-divisional officer (SDO) C Murugan said no untoward incident had been reported so far.

The different districts have been alerted to keep a strict vigil, the SDO added.

Train services were kept outside the purview of the bandh.

The bandh registered a lukewarm response in Bankura and Purulia districts.

Purulia Superintendent of Police Sunil Choudhury said the bandh had a lukewarm response in Purulia except Bundwan, Bagmundi, Balarampur, Burrabazaar, Ashra, Jhalda and Jaipur.

Train services were disrupted after suspected Maoists forced the Assistant Station Master (ASM) of Urma near Purulia to lock it for two consecutive days last week.

In Bankura, Superintendent of Police Pranab Kumar Das said the bandh did not have much effect.


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