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PCPA denies involvement in train accident

Last updated on: May 28, 2010 15:48 IST

Hours after the West Bengal police claimed that the Maoist-backed People's Committee against Police Atrocities had claimed responsibility for the derailment of an express train, PCPA spokesperson Asit Mahato denied involvment in the accident.

Mahato later told PTI over phone that "we were in no way involved. This is not our act."

The accident left more than 100 dead and over 150 injured early on Friday.

About the posters found near the accident site, Mahato said, "What can we do if somebody claims responsibility on our behalf?

"We are in the dark and it is the job of the police to find out who had done it," he said. On the heavy loss of lives, he said, "it is bad to hear about it.

Earlier in the day, IGP (Law and Order) S Karpurakayastha had said: "The PCPA have left two posters near the rail tracks clearly owning responsibility for the derailment of the Kurla-bound Gyaneswari Express.".

The posters read, 'We earlier demanded the withdrawal of the joint security forces from Jangalmahal (West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia) and end of CPI-M atrocities, but those demands were not met.'

Another poster demanded the immediate withdrawal of the joint forces from the area.

Our correspondent adds from West Midnapore: According to West Bengal Director General of Police Bhupinder Singh, some posters of the PCPA were recovered from the area.The group came into existence in the latter half of 2008.

Spearheaded by 45-year-old Chhatradhar Mahato, a local tribal leader who is now in jail, the PCPA enjoys the loyalty of lakhs of people from the tribal-dominated West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts of Bengal.

Its influence started with 22 villages and now extends to about 50.

On October 27 last year, the PCPA had detained the Bhubaneswar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express for eight hours during a bandh called by the outfit.

Nearly 400 villagers owing allegiance to the PCPA had blocked the Delhi-bound Rajdhani Express at Banstala halt in Jhargram.

The blockade was enforced as part of an indefinite bandh in the district to protest security force operations in the area.

However, PCPA activists were not booked in the case. Even the FIR lodged in the case did not mention the PCPA, although Parliament had debated the issue.

Though the PCPA has often been referred to as a frontal organisation of the Maoists, both the Maoists and the PCPA have claimed to be working independent of each other.

In interviews to rediff.com, the Communist Party of India-Maoist spokesperson Gour Chakraborty and PCPA leader Chhatradhar Mahato too had spoken on those lines.

The state and central administrations, however, have often claimed that the PCPA thrives on Maoist support.

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