Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bengal situation deteriorating, says Chidambaram

BS Reporter / New Delhi June 18, 2009, 0:45 IST

Expressing his concern on the fast deteriorating law and order situation in West Bengal in view of Maoist rebels unleashing violence in several districts, Union Home minister P Chidambaram today blamed the Left Front government for not dealing effectively with it.

“We get an impression from here that a section in the government wants to act, while the other does not, fearing the consequences,” Chidambaram told reporters here today.

He said the Centre was ready to send more paramilitary forces to help the state government but the main responsibility for dealing with law and order situation remained with the state. The Ministry of Home Affairs has already sent 17 companies of the paramilitary forces to the state for controlling situation in West Midnapore’s restive Lalgarh area.

Chidambaram’s remarks came after his ministry had asked the state government to deploy all its forces in the troubled areas in the wake of reports that the West Bengal police had virtually withdrawn from violence-hit West Midnapore and adjoining districts.

The ministry has sent a 120-strong contingent of elite anti-naxal force — Common Battalions for Resolute Action — (COBRA) to the state following reports that Naxal militants were laying mines and booby-trapping fresh areas in West Midnapore and adjoining districts.

The Cobra forces have been air-lifted from Orissa today, sources said.

Home ministry officials said as the tribal communities were not allowing the central forces to enter their habitations to flush out militants, the COBRA would be deployed to conduct specialised operations.

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