Lalgarh’s tribal agitators threaten to resist police action

April 5th, 2009 - 7:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Ram Vilas Paswan Kolkata, April 5 (IANS) People from Lalgarh will put up mass resistance if security forces tried to enter the area, their top leader said here Sunday, a day after the West Bengal government said it will soon announce a plan to enable the police enter the tribal-dominated region.
“We will not allow the police or the central paramilitary forces to enter Lalgarh. If they try to forcibly enter, we will form mass resistance groups to stop the police,” said Chatradhar Mahato, leader of the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) formed by the agitating tribals.

“If we allow the police or the paramilitary forces, then Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) hooligans will sneak into Lalgarh in the disguise of the security forces,” Mahato alleged in a media meet at the Calcutta Press Club here.

He said the residents of Lalgarh in West Midnapore district could not move freely in the area when the police established a reign of terror. “Now, there is no police team and we can move around freely. And there are no disturbances.”

Asked how the administrative offices were functioning in the absence of the police, Mahatato said: “Both panchayat and the block development office are working fine.”

The PCAPA has already put up two check-posts at Raigarh and Barotelia to prevent the police and activists of the CPI-M, the state’s main ruling party, from entering the area.

For conducting the Lok Sabha polls, Mahato said, the Election Commission representatives should approach the PCAPA, which would provide security to all polling personnel.

“We want the polls, but not the police or the paramilitary forces in our area,” he reiterated.

In a warning to the state government, the tribal leader said: “We don’t want another Nandigram. But if the government tries to use force, it will be responsible for the consequences.”

State Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen said Saturday that the government would announce within a week a comprehensive plan of action for Lalgarh.

“We’ve got intelligence inputs that Maoists guerrillas are still actively operating in the region,” he added.

In protest against the government’s proposed move, the PCAPC will organise a rally in the area Monday.

Trouble erupted in Lalgarh last November after the police arrested some school students and allegedly harassed tribal women following a landmine blast on the route of the convoy of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and central ministers Ram Vilas Paswan and Jitin Prasada near Bhadutala area.

Later, the tribals, allegedly backed by the Maoists, dug up roads and placed big tree trunks across them, virtually cutting off the trouble-prone zone from the rest of the district.

They also demanded a public apology from the police for the alleged excesses against them.

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