How PCAPA is run

Written by Madhuparna Das | Sardiha | Updated: Jun 1 2010, 02:13am hrs
The Peoples Committee Against Police Atrocities ( PCAPA), which is suspected to be behind the Jnaneswari Express carnage, is essentially a kindergarten for growing Maoists. It is where the initiation process of a Bengal Maoist begins.

The outfitoriginally set up as a frontal organisation to further the cause of the Maoistshas been increasingly sharpening its skills in drawing blood from who they conceive as enemies. The organisation has undergone drastic transformation particularly after its leader Chhatradhar Mahato was put behind bars and Lal Mohan Tudu, another front-ranking leader, was killed under mysterious circumstances.

The PCAPA was formed on November 8, 2008 after the mine blast attack on West Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjees convoy in Salboni and the police action that followed in the villages in Lalgarh. A body set to prevent atrocities of the police slowly turned into a frontal organisation of the CPI-Maoists in the middle of 2009.

At the ground level, the PCAPA starts with booth committees and above it, the anchal committees. The central committee of the PCAPA includes all anchal committees in three LWE districts (West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia) and has 110 members. Like the CPI-Maoists, the PCAPA has a core committee, which formulates strategy and policies of the organisation. The core committee has 21 members who initiated and spearheaded the Lalgarh movement at the end of 2008. However, most of the core committee (CC) members have either been arrested or killed in last five-seven months.

As per police records and the PCAPA sources, the PCAPA is at present run by Santosh Patro, the closest associate of Chhtradhar Mahato while the PCAPA was formed. Santosh Patro, Maoist leader Kishenjis right-hand man in the PCAPA, is at present the secretary of the CC. Patro chalks out and finalises every action of the PCAPA, of course, under instructions from top-ranking Maoists leaders.

Patro never comes out in public and does not speak with the media. To keep a clean image, Asit Mahato who was not even an important member of the PCAPA was made the spokesperson because of his clean track record.

The PCAPA was first brought into action in setting afire the sponge iron factory in Lodhashuli and in ransacking the zoo in Jhargram. After the successful operations, the PCAPA was assigned more important and significant actions including detaining the Rajdhani Express at Banstala last year and damaging the rail track in Gidhni which caused another derailment.

However, derailing the Jnaneswari Express which killed over 100 civilians is their biggest operation so far, though the original plan was to derail a goods train.