Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Security forces use batons to disperse women in Lalgarh

Lalgarh (PTI): Shortly after a three-member team of the Trinamool Congress, including two Union ministers, visited Lalgarh demanding withdrawal of central forces, a procession of tribal women was alledgedly lathicharged by the police.

A huge procession of the women supporters of the People's Committee against Police Atrocities headed for Lalgarh police station at around 4:00 pm with placards and posters demanding withdrawal of the central forces and police from Lalgarh, The Lalgarh police station was recaptured from Maoists through their operation since June 19.

"There were at least 300 women, mostly tribals who were prevented from entering Lalgarh police station. We had to fire four teargas cells to disperse them," top police sources said.

There were sounds of firing and mine explosion from the nearby villages, the sources said. "We are yet to determine the exact area from where the sounds came."

PCPA sources, however, claimed that the security forces lathi-charged the women and even kicked some of them.

"The government is trying to throttle the voice of the people," they claimed.

Earlier Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly Partha Chatterjee, Union Minister of State for Rural Development Sisir Adhikary and Minister of State for Shipping Mukul Roy visited Lalgarh to distribute relief.

"We demand immediate withdrawal of the joint security forces committing atrocities on innocent villagers in the name of nabbing Maoists and urge the Centre to take up development programmes at Lalgarh as early as possible," Mr. Chatterjee told PTI.

West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had 'misguided' the Centre to send central forces for 'committing atrocities' on villagers in the name of curbing Maoists, he alleged.

Mr. Chatterjee claimed that villagers tearfully narrated tales of 'torture' they faced during the anti-Maoist operations.

Charging the Left Front government with failing to do any development work at Lalgarh in the past 32 years, Mr. Chatterjee said "there is no food, drinking water and no sign of development."

The TC leader demanded that school buildings, particularly at Gohomidanga, be immediately vacated by the security forces for resumption of a normal academic atmosphere.

The TC leaders were provided security by the administration for the visit, which had earlier advised them not to visit Lalgarh.

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