The Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee (PSBJC) in West Bengal has decided to call off its bandh from Thursday.
The PSBJC has been demanding withdrawal of the security forces engaged in an operation to flush out Maoists from Lalgarh and surrouding region and the unconditional release of its convener Chattradhar Mahato.
On Wednesday, a truck was torched by unidentified men near the Kushboni forest close to Lalgarh.
Meanwhile, high-level meetings were held in the city to plan more efficient security systems for trains passing through Maoist-affected regions in the State, in the wake of the detention of the Bhubaneswar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express for five hours at the Banstala station. A case of rioting, wrongfully restraining people, causing damage to public property and criminal conspiracy was filed by the Jhargram Government Railway Police against PSBJC supporters for the incident.
Even though the PSBJC supporters were forced to beat a retreat in the face of an offensive by the security forces, the train hostage incident has brought to light the emergence of a newly-formed armed wing of the tribal outfit.
Known as the ‘Sidhu Kanu Gana Militia,’ its members will be armed with modern weapons to combat the security forces, the PSBJC leadership has said.
While Maoist Polit Bureau member Koteswar Rao alias Kishanji has been denying any connection with the PSBJC, he told The Hindu during a telephonic interview earlier that the Communist Party of India(Maoist) supported the PSBJC’s cause and would provide supporters of the outfit strategic and military support to take on the security forces.
Sources in the police said the way the Rajdhani Express was held up bore testimony to the fact that the detention was executed by the tribal armed outfit rather than by the Maoists, whose action was more organised and efficient, although they were always present in the background.
Santosh Patra, one of the PSBJC leaders, said: “People got scared of the firing by the forces and got scattered. One of our supporters was killed in the firing.”