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Mamata Banerjee Nominates Wife of Tribal Leader as Child Rights Member Ahead of 2021 Assembly Polls

File photo of West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee addressing a rally.

File photo of West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee addressing a rally.

From 2008 to 2011, Chhatradhar Mahato was the face of the alleged Maoists-backed tribal movement in Bengal’s Jangalmahal region.

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Sujit Nath

In a significant development ahead of state assembly polls, Niyati Mahato- wife of influential tribal leader Chhatradhar Mahato was nominated as a member of the Commission for Protection of Child Rights in West Bengal.

Niyati, a well known social worker in Jangalmahal, was earlier appointed as a member of the Rajya Samaj Kalyan Parishad in Jhargram district to tackle coronavirus related cases. “Yes, I heard about Niyati's appointment but she has not received any formal official letter so far,” Chhatradhar Mahato said.

When contacted, the Minister of State (Independent charge), Department of Women & Child Development and Social Welfare, West Bengal, Dr. Shashi Panja confirmed that Mahato has been nominated as a member of the Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

From 2008 to 2011, Chhatradhar Mahato was the face of the alleged Maoists-backed tribal movement in Bengal’s Jangalmahal region. He launched the Lalgarh movement under the banner of the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) after police conducted raids at several tribal homes and arrested a large number of locals allegedly without any evidence. Under his leadership, he had turned Lalgarh into a liberated zone till his arrest under UAPA on September 26, 2009.

In September 2012, the Calcutta High Court granted him the status of political prisoner and on February 1, 2020, he was released from jail after remaining behind bars for 11 years. Following his release, Mamata Banerjee announced his name as a key worker to look after the welfare of tribals in the Jangalmahal area.

While Chhatradhar was behind the bars, his wife was actively involved in several social welfare works for the tribal people.

Many felt that Mamata roped both Chhatradhar and his wife Niyati in the party and public welfare-related works to strengthen the party in tribal-dominated areas considering the upcoming Assembly Polls.


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