“Those who cover their faces and kill people are cowards”

Asking people to remain watchful as the Maoists may try to regain ground under the guise of different organisations, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urged a congregation at Lalgarh in Paschim Medinipur district on Tuesday not to provide any shelter to the rebels.

The extremists cannot, under any circumstances, be allowed to create fresh unrest in the Jangalmahal region, she said.

Ms. Banerjee who was addressing a rally at what once was the epicentre of Maoist activity – the first at Lalgarh after she took over as Chief Minister – said that “violence and the politics of killing” cannot be allowed in the State.

“Those who cover their faces and kill people are cowards,” Ms. Banerjee said, pointing out that Maoists were against development and the well being of the people.

It was at a rally at the same venue in August 2010 when Ms. Banerjee, then an Opposition leader, had created a political storm by demanding a probe into the killing by the Andhra Pradesh police of Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad, spokesperson and member of the central committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist).

This time round she congratulated the people of the area for standing up to the Maoists and restoring peace in the area.

Ms. Banerjee said that the Maoists indulge in the politics of “killing and abduction and have tried to turn the green land of Lalgarh red with blood.”

She also said that the Maoists had threatened people not to accept rice at Rs. 2 per kg when the State government had started distributing it to the poor at that price.

Condemning those who sympathise with the Maoists, she said some people from the city issue statements in support of the Maoists and do not want education and development in the Maoist-affected areas.

Alleging that people involved in the firing at Netai village in the district in January 2011 have taken shelter with the Maoists, Ms. Banerjee blamed the Communist Party of India (Marxist) for colluding with the left-wing extremists.

“They accused of us of being hand-in-glove with the Maoists. Now see who are with them. They have come together like Ganga and Yamuna,” she said, taking a dig at the CPI(M).