CPI-M alleges involvement of outsiders in tribal unrest

November 18th, 2008 - 1:16 am ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Nov 17 (IANS) As a stalemate continued over the tribal unrest in West Bengal’s West Midnapore district, the ruling Left Front major Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Monday alleged that “outsiders” were fanning the agitation.”How many of the agitators are from West Bengal - there are people from Andhra Pradesh, and also from Jharkhand, who are creating the lawlessness,” Left Front chairman Biman Bose told reporters here.

Opposition Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, however, alleged that the state government had the habit of putting the blame on outsiders to cover administrative failures.

“The tribals are now up in arms following years of torture by the police and the CPI-M. The administration has failed to tackle the agitation. So now they are taking recourse to their favourite line of blaming outsiders,” Banerjee said.

Meanwhile, tribals - under the platform of the Bharat Jakat Majhi Marwa Juan Ganta (BJMMJG) - continued to blockade Lalgarh and several other parts of the West Mindapore disctict.

A fresh round of talks between the administration and the agitators failed to resolve the impasse.

The tribals are incensed as the policemen investigating the Nov 2 landmine attack on the convoy of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and two union ministers Ram Vilas Paswan and Jitin Prasada have allegedly been torturing women and making “indiscriminate” arrests.

The National Highway 6, connecting Kolkata with Gujarat, was blocked near Lodhasuli, even as the administration continued to avoid confrontation.

Earlier, the tribals demanded that the district police superintendent hold his ears and apologise for the police “torture”, halt police raids after sunset, release all those arrested after the blast and pay Rs.200,000 compensation to each of the women allegedly injured in the police action.

The administration has turned down some of the demands, but agreed to consider the rest.

Thousands of residents, including women and children, squatted on dug up roads in Lalgarh last week and blocked all approach roads.

Trouble began at Lalgarh after the district police arrested some school students and allegedly harassed tribal women after the landmine blast that went off when the convoy of Union Ministers Ram Vilas Paswan and Jitin Prasada and Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was passing through Bhadutala. The landmine exploded close to Paswan’s security vehicle near Salboni, injuring six policemen of a pilot car.

Villagers allege that the police often arrested people on suspicion of being Maoists. They claimed that the police entered tribal homes at midnight and beat up women in the course of their investigation.

The convoy was returning after inauguration of JSW Steel’s mega 10 milion tonnes steel plant at Salboni.

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