Monday, April 06, 2009

Lalgarh tribal group warns of mass resistance

Special Correspondent

Police have not been able to enter Lalgarh for five months

Plan take out a procession here on Monday

KOLKATA: A local predominantly tribal resistance group of Lalgarh in West Bengal’s Paschim Medinipur district — the “Police Santrosh Birodhi Janasadharan Committee (PSBJC)” [People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities] — threatened a “mass resistance” if the State government goes ahead with its plans to send the police into the Lalgarh area in view of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

“We have learnt our lesson from what happened in Nandigram [where police entered on March 14, 2007 resulting in firing and subsequent violence in which 14 persons were killed] and do not want to make the same mistake,” Chhatradhar Mahato, founder-leader of the PSBJC said here on Sunday.

“We shall resist any such police move at Lalgarh and if there is any untoward incident the administration will be responsible,” Mr. Mahato said .

His warning came a day after State’s Home Secretary Ardhendhu Sen said here that the government was working on a plan of police action that was to be finalised shortly to enable security forces to enter the Lalgarh prior to the elections.

The police have not been able to enter the Lalgarh for nearly five months since the PSBJC was set up early in November 2008 to protest alleged police excesses on local villagers during raids to arrest those responsible for an IED blast that narrowly missed Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s convoy on its way back from Salboni.

Mr. Mahato said elections could be held without the police at the Lalgarh and that poll officials were free to enter the area for the purpose unescorted by police personnel. The PSBJC will take out a procession here on Monday to protest against the government’s plans to facilitate police entry into the Lalgarh.

In a bid to prevent the police from entering the area, the PSBJC, which has the support of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), has set up “check-points” near Lalgarh on the road that connects it with Jhargram. These “check-points” are being manned round the clock by PSBJC activists.

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