Security to be tightened in Nandigram for polls

May 6th, 2008 - 5:14 pm ICT by admin  

Kolkata, May 6 (IANS) West Bengal Home Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakrabarti Tuesday ruled out withdrawal of police camps from Nandigram in West Bengal’s East Midnapore district and said security will be further tightened during the upcoming panchayat polls. Police camps were set up in Nandigram last year after it witnessed frequent eruptions of large-scale violence as cadres of the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) clashed with a group opposing farmland acquisition for industry.

“We are not going to withdraw police camps from Nandigram during the May 11-18 panchayat polls. In fact, we will increase the forces,” Chakrabarti told reporters during his visit to Midnapore to discuss poll preparations.

On the other hand, East Midnapore Superintendent of Police Satyashankar Panda said he had received a government order to withdraw eight police camps from Blocks I and II of Nandigram Monday evening.

“The personnel from these camps were supposed be deployed for the panchayat polls across the state. But now that the government has changed the decision we will abide by that,” Panda told IANS.

Chakrabarti said: “Not only Nandigram, we will increase police picketing in Maoist-hit Puruliya, Bankura, West Midnapore and Birbhum districts.”

“It is not possible to post armed police in over 47,000 polling booths across the state since we will get only five to seven companies of central forces and 22 companies from other states. But armed personnel will be deployed at all sensitive and violence-prone booths,” the home secretary added.

The total strength of the police force in Bengal is 36,000. Out of that, 14,000 will be deployed for the panchayat polls.

“We also want about 30,000 home guards during the polls,” Chakrabarti said.

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