West Bengal government moves to end Lalgarh impasse

April 21st, 2009 - 1:35 am ICT by IANS  

Ram Vilas Paswan Kolkata, April 20 (IANS) Officials of the Election Commission, the West Bengal government and representatives of agitating tribals will hold a meeting Wednesday to end the stalemate at Lalgarh on holding Lok Sabha polls on April 30.
The meeting will be held in Midnapore town, the district headquarters of Midnapore West.

Earlier, the tribal body Peoples’ Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) had submitted a 23-point charter of demands and said that it would allow central forces to be deployed for 12 hours on polling day for conducting the polls only if its demands were met.

Confirming the meeting, state home secretary Ardhendu Sen said the charter will be discussed, but the government will not give in to the demand that former police superintendent of police Rajesh Singh apologise to the tribals for alleged police atrocities.

“We will discuss their demands but it does not mean that we will accept all of them,” Sen said.

Besides state chief electoral officer Debashis Sen, the district superintendent of police, the district magistrate and the central observer for the Jhargram parliamentary constituency will attend the talks.

State’s special secretary (home), special secretary (backward class welfare) and special secretary (rural development) would take part in the deliberations, said the home secretary.

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.

Lalgarh residents have been protesting police “excesses” and resisting a planned government crackdown ahead of the elections.

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