KOLKATA — A Maoist women’s organisation, Nari Mukti Sangha, Paschim Banga (West Bengal), has demanded the unconditional release of two young women, Sulekha Mahtao and Bimala Sardar who were arrested by the police on February 7.
West Bengal police claims that Sulekha and Bimala are members of Maoist suicide squads and is touting their arrest as a big achievement in the battle against left extremists which has left dozens of rebels and policemen dead.
NMS has issued the warning in leaflets distributed in Belpahari, West Midnapore, where a landmine blew up a police jeep killing four on Sunday.
The leaflets, signed by ‘Sikha’ on behalf of NMS, have given a call to fight exploitation of women by police and paramilitary forces. They urged more women to join the rebels.
Rape and harassment of women at the hands of police, paramilitary forces and Left Front cadres have become rampant in Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia since 2001 against which strong resistance would have to be organised, the leaflet said.
The leaflet also alleges the rape of an Adivasi woman on February 18 by a CRPF jawan at Koima in Salboni. The jawan had also made an attempt to rape the head teacher of a local primary school at Koima.
The leaflet also alleged that students of schools where paramilitary camps are housed are also becoming victims of police torture.
The NMS leader wondered at the silence of Mamata Banerjee and Brinda Karat who claimed they were ‘champions of women’. The leaflet claimed that women are regularly framed in false cases.
The leaflet gave a call to women to unite against what it describes as state-sponsored terrorism.
The leaflet claims that 25 Adivasi women were murdered after being raped by paramilitary forces over the last six months in Chattisgarh. The NMS also gave a call to observe International Women’s Day on 8 March.