Home ministry alerts Maoist-affected states

June 21st, 2009 - 6:14 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram New Delhi, June 21 (IANS) The central government Sunday sounded an alert to five Maoist-affected states warning them against possible “demonstrative acts of violence” by leftwing extremists in the wake of a 48-hour shutdown called by the Communist Party of India-Maoist.
The home ministry issued the alert specifically to Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal asking them to take “precautionary and pre-emptive measures”.

Intelligence inputs received by the ministry suggest that Maoist rebels could hit at transport links and vital installations in a bid to deflect attention from the ongoing combing operations by security forces in West Bengal’s Lalgarh area.

The CPI-Maoist has given a call for a 48-hour bandh on June 22-23.

“There are intelligence inputs that the CPI-Maoist may indulge in demonstrative acts of violence by targeting security forces and economic infrastructure such as trains, buses, railway and bus stations and other places where people are likely to gather in significant numbers,” D.R.S. Chaudhary, additional secretary (Naxal management) of the ministry, said in a statement.

“All other state governments have also been alerted,” the statement said.

The government has also asked security personnel to remain vigilant against improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and landmines which have targeted securitymen earlier, killing a number of them.

“While every effort will be made to maintain law and order and to ensure security of people, it is requested that people should also remain vigilant and cooperate with the police and other security personnel,” it said.

With operations against Maoists in Lalgarh reaching a critical stage, Home Minister P. Chidambaram appealed to political leaders and NGOs not to venture to the conflict zone in West Bengal.

After reclaiming the Lalgarh block headquarters, security forces have started combing the surrounding villages to flush out Maoists from the troubled zone in West Midnapore district.

“The situation in Lalgarh is sensitive and continues to be tense. Besides, the CPI-Maoist has called for a bandh tomorrow (Monday),” Chidambaram said in a statement.

“Security forces must carry on their work without distraction. Hence, I appeal to all citizens, especially political leaders, NGOs and others not to go to the conflict area.”

His appeal comes a day after a section of West Bengal intellectuals went to Lalgarh and alleged that women and children there were being harassed.

Theatre personality Saonli Mitra, who visited the area, told journalists: “We have visited some interior villages and spoken to the people. People are living in danger. They are very afraid that police may beat them up.”

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