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Friday, August 21, 2009

Joint forces to stay

NEW DELHI/MIDNAPORE, 20 AUG: Central paramilitary forces will continue to stay in Lalgarh area to assist the state security forces till the situation improves in the region, the Union home secretary, Mr GK Pillai, said here today.
There would be no change in the CRPF deployment in the region in the near future and the force would continue operations along with the state security forces to flush out and eliminate naxalites. Police have also seized a large number of SLRs (self-loading rifles) and .303 rifles, which were looted from the state police forces, as also a large number of country-made weapons, said the CRPF director-general, Mr AS Gill, who was also present at the briefing.
Mr Pillai said the situation is improving in Lalgarh, adding that the Central government has increased welfare activities in the area to help local residents. Recently, the government has revised the list of BPL families increasing it from 11,837 to 18,915, an increase of over 7000 families. It would enable more people to avail of social welfare schemes. Employment opportunities in the region have also improved due to more enrolment under NREGS, Mr Pillai said. In the past 84 days more than Rs 65 lakh has been distributed under NREGS, he added. The government has also given various incentives to farmers, including 2,000 mini farmers’ kits, distribution of 600 goats and installation of over 300 more water resources, the home secretary said. Meanwhile, the Police Santras Birodhi Public Committee's (PSBPC) rampage in league with Maoists continues at Junglemahal in West Midnapore. After razing the CPI-M office at Dherua in Midnapore Kotwali police station area to the ground the PSBPC dug up roads at several places blocking the movement of joint forces and ransacked the Marxist party office in adjoining Malbandi today and the houses of eight CPI-M activists in the area. All the residents, along with other villagers, have fled. Locals are tightlipped. The PSBPC leaders threatened that they won't allow Marxist comrades to live in peace until their eight supporters, abducted from Gohomidanga in neighbouring Lalgarh by CPI-M cadres yesterday, are released. They threatened to torch the cadres' houses and other belongings.
The joint forces have failed to show any spectacular achievement in their second phase of operation which began last week, except for nabbing a handful of Maoist cadres, as announced by home secretary Mr Ardhendu Sen at a Press conference in Midnapore town on 13 August. He said the forces would frequently change their strategy to befool the Maoists so that they don't get any breathing space.
Maoist cadres fired at the police outpost in Ramgarh early today. Police retaliated and the gun battle lasted an hour. A few hundred PSBPC activists reportedly assembled near a police camp at Kasdasole in Goaltore to launch an attack. The joint forces have been kept ready to meet any eventuality.
The indefinite bandh called by the PSBPC from Tuesday at Junglemahal of Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia will be relaxed for two hours from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. from tomorrow.
In another development, CPI-M Politburo member Mr Sitaram Yechury accused Central ministers belonging to Trinamul Congress of abetting Maoists in West Bengal. Referring to the Prime Minister's Independence Day speech, Mr Yechury said Dr Singh had expressed “great concern” at the growing Maoist violence and stated that the Centre would redouble its efforts to deal with the menace. But he must explain how he continues to tolerate members of his own Cabinet aiding and abetting Maoist violence in Lalgarh and other parts of West Bengal, he said

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