Communist party of India (Maoist) Polit Bureau member Koteswar Rao alias Kishanji has justified the detention of the New Delhi - Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express by supporters of the Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee (PSBJC) on October 27 in support of their several demands. He, however, clarified that the Maoists did not participate in the incident.

In a press statement issued by the CPI(Maoist) and signed by him, he said: “What wrong did the people do? Putting up blockades is a fundamental right of the people. In their attempt to deprive people of this right, the trio of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Mamata Banerjee and Chidambaram is deploying security personnel in the region, using misleading words like hijack, kidnap, etc. for the incident and wrongfully blaming the Maoists for everything.”

The Centre and the West Bengal government were trying to divert people’s attention from the “basic demands” of the tribal population by “branding the blockade incident as an act of terror,” he said.

Challenging the State government to make public the development projects it had “actually taken up” in the Lalgarh region over the past four-and-half months within the next four days, Kishanji claimed that the agitating tribal population too would prepare a similar list of development activities taken up by them during this time.

Claiming that the Maoists were receiving complaints that people in the region were not given even four days of employment in the past four months under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, he asked the State government to arrange for 45 days of work for the people to make up for the lost days.

“The State government should prepare a list pointing out the number of instances when the Maoists impeded development activity in the region as it alleged,” Kishanji stated.

He appealed to both the State government and the tribal people to work in tandem in the three districts of Paschim Medinipur, Bankura and Purulia to build healthcare centres and develop the irrigation facilities in the region.

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