West Bengal asks media, ministers to stay away from Lalgarh

June 21st, 2009 - 7:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, June 21 (IANS) The West Bengal government Sunday appealed to central and state ministers, NGOs, intellectuals and journalists to stay away from the troubled zone of Lalgarh saying it was not in a position to provide security to them in view of Maoist activities in the area.
“The central and state security forces are there. But we don’t have control over the Maoist activities. The situation there is not normal. We can’t provide security,” Chief Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty told reporters after a high level meeting at the state secretariat here.

The meeting of the core group, formed to monitor the progress of the ongoing security operations to flush out Maoist rebels from Lalgarh in West Midnapore district, was presided over by Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

The chief secretary’s remarks came in the wake of the visit of a section of intellectuals to Lalgarh.

Two union ministers of state from Trinamool Congress - Mukul Roy and Sisir Adhikari - have also reached close to Lalgarh following instructions from party chief Mamata Banerjee.

With a tinge of annoyance, Chakraborty said that despite repeated requests, the journalists continued to be in the troubled zone and often moved to the frontline to click pictures or record footage.

“You don’t listen to me, but whenever you get obstructed you turn to me,” he said.

The meeting decided that the administration would give utmost priority to restoring normal life and making the area terror free immediately.

“We have decided that the health centres and ration shops will have to be reopened as early as possible,” Chakraborty said. He also appealed to the Maoists to lay down arms and help in restoring normalcy.

The meeting also discussed the two-day shutdown called by the Maoists in five states, including West Bengal, and decided that the government will be on high alert to ensure there was no violence.

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