Devotees avoid Jhargram temple due to fear of Maoists

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Jhargram (West Bengal), June 25 (ANI): Devotees have stopped going to a 600-year-old temple in West Bengal's Jhargram due to fear of Maoists.

Although security forces have been successful in containing the Maoist threat, fear still prevails, causing a distinct dip in visitors to the temple of Hindu goddess Durga in Jhargram.

"Earlier, people used to come in large numbers almost around 300 everyday, and during the marriage ceremonies almost 1000 people used to come...now although marriage ceremonies take place here, people hardly come to this place," said Joy Rana, a villager. Visitors used to come to Jhargram temple from Kolkata, Jharkhand and Bihar but now, they have stopped going to the temple.

Maoist rebels in recent months have stepped up attacks against the joint central paramilitary and state police outfits who have been wanting to flush them out of their jungle bases.

The Maoists have been active in rural areas of central and eastern India and often attack railway lines and mining operations to cripple economic activity, such as the transportation of coal to power and steel plants.

The rebel movement started as a peasant revolt in Naxalbari village in West Bengal in 1967, giving Maoists the local name of 'Naxals' or 'Naxalites'.

The rebels say they are fighting for the rights of the poor and marginal farmers and landless labourers. (ANI)

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