Thursday, June 18, 2009

Maoists using women and children as human shield

'Don't let Maoists use you as shields'
18 Jun 2009, 0255 hrs IST, TNN

KOLKATA: With the government gearing up for a battle with the Maoists in the Jangalkhand, chief secretary Asok Mohan Chakrabarti warned the Maoists
against using women and children as human shield. "I would appeal to the innocent villagers not to cooperate with the Maoists. We will not tolerate the lawlessness and anarchy in these areas," he said.

At a Left Front meeting earlier in the day, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said that he was firm on taking action against the Maoists. The CM, however, left it to the state police top brass to decide on the timing of the Lalgarh operation.

Before giving a go-ahead to the crackdown, the chief minister sent state home secretary Ardhendu Sen, DGP Sujit Sarkar and director general (coordination) Bhupinder Singh to West Midnapore to take stock of the situation and also get field reports from the police officers there. The CM stayed at Writers' Buildings till evening and held a meeting with the team and chief secretary after they came back from Midnapore.

The home secretary briefed the CM about the ground reality and the administrative preparedness before starting the operation. "We are well aware of the ground reality and the number of roads dug up by the agitators. The state police will lead the brigade with the central forces providing the crucial back up," Sen said after a meeting with the CM. He said that the forces have been told to conduct the operation with a view to keep the loss of lives at minimum. A section of the IPS officers are dismayed with former DGP A B Vohra's "wait-and-watch" stance that they believe has aggravated the situation.

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