Tuesday, June 16, 2009

CRPF jawans to fight against Maoists in Lalgarh

16 Jun 2009, 2126 hrs IST, PTI

KOLKATA: Finally, the fatigues are moving in to control the flare-up in trouble-torn Lalgarh in West Bengal’s west-Midnapore district. The Centre
has just despatched two companies of specialist CRPF jawans trained in anti-Maoist combat to take up positions in Lalgarh by Tuesday night, while three more companies are on the way.

With 500 specialised commandos of the CRPF moving in, one expects the lawlessness at Lalgarh to subside to an extent over the next few days. One wonders, however, whether that will eliminate the problem of Lalgarh completely since the ultras have over the past several months been given so much of leeway by an extremely slack administration that they have had ample time to go from strength to strength.

Incidentally on Monday, Maoists went to the extent of holding a press conference at Lalgarh with the spokesman having his back to camera and claiming proudly that they had indeed planned to kill West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on November 2, 2008 in a landmine explosion.

Nevertheless, senior state police officials including the director general of police and inspector general of police (law and order) held a crucial meeting on Tuesday to chalk out the strategy for the crack CRPF teams to follow up. No state police official, no matter how senior or well armed, has had the guts to visit Lalgarh and take on the Maoists of late. However, since they know the terrain well, their advice will be of use to the paramilitary forces to some extent.

Incidentally, Lalgarh is an issue that has made both CPIM and Trinamool Congress demand Central help. The CPIM politburo issued a statement on Monday’s incidents at Lalgarh and urged the Centre to immediately rush the required number of para-military forces to Lalgarh. Within just a few hours, one company of para-military forces reached West Bengal and was rushed to Lalgarh.

Trinamool Congress chief and railway minister Mamata Banerjee also condemned the Maoist activities in Lalgarh and said that she did not support the politics of violence and killings. Mamata also said that "I want Central agencies to come to West Bengal and carry out a combing operations in the Maoist-infested areas."

Mamata on Monday night sent one of her leaders and Union minister of state for shipping, Mukul Roy to Delhi to brief the finance minister Pranab Mukherjee the Lalgarh situation and post-poll violence in the state. Terming the continuous violence in different parts of the state like Lalgarh, and Khejuri as "frightful" Mamata told reporters that "if arms are not seized immediately, the situation will worsen in our state and internal security will be at a stake."

The Trinamool supremo also came down heavily on the West Bengal home secretary Ardhendu Sen and urged him to take action against those CPIM activists from whose possession the arms were found. "I urge the home secretary to withdraw the cases against our men who were implicated falsely by the police and start cases under arms act against those CPIM activists who had stored arms and ammunition at their homes," Mamata said.

Mamata also said that attacks were organised against the minority and Dalits in several pockets of West Bengal after the poll results were out. Political observers read a message in Mamata’s claim. As per the constitution of India, the Centre can intervene into affairs of any state government if the minorities and dalits face any atrocity and seek Centre’s support for themselves.

Even though Mamata is not openly claiming imposition of article 356 in West Bengal, she has already given enough indication that her party would not hesitate to demand for the same. The opposition leader in the state Assembly and Trinamool Congress MLA, Partha Chatterjee has already demanded imposition of article 356 during his recent meeting with the West Bengal governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi.

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