The Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee (PSBJC) on Tuesday announced that the blockade in West Bengal’s Paschim Medinipur, Bankura and Purulia districts, called by the outfit since December 18, would be relaxed from December 31.
Speaking to The Hindu over telephone from Lalgrah, PSBJC spokesperson Asit Mahato said: “The festival season of the tribal people is approaching. Potato farmers also need to sell their harvest. So we decided to relax the blockade for the time being.”
Mr. Mahato denied that the protest was called off in the face of local’s resentment. “We have people’s support and we have relaxed the blockade for their sake. We can resume it any moment if the security forces harass the people again.”
During the 12-day blockade, PSBJC supporters ransacked and torched several forest department offices, including a mini zoo at Jhargram. A mob shot dead two rare species of blackbuck and carried away the carcass. Several rare birds were also feared charred to death.
Many vehicles were torched for defiance of the blockade. Several persons, mostly supporters of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), were killed during this time.