Security up in Maoist-hit area for West Bengal chief minister

February 16th, 2009 - 6:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Feb 16 (IANS) Security has been stepped up at West Bengal’s Maoist-hit Purulia district Monday, a day before Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s visit to the area, the police said.

Bhattacharjee would be laying the foundation stone for Shyam Steel’s 1.1 million-tonne per annum (MTPA) steel plant Tuesday at Raghunathpur in Purulia, about 200 km from here.

“As it is, Bhattacharjee always gets Z+ category security. Besides, we have already stepped up security across Purulia for the Chief Minister’s visit Tuesday,” state Police Inspector General (law and order) Raj Kanojia told IANS over phone Monday.

“We don’t want to give away the exact blue print of the security arrangements to the media for the sake of his (Bhattacharjee) security. But all we can say is there will be additional policemen - in uniform and casual dress - to tackle any untoward incident. Besides, arrangements have been made in a way that no suspected movement by any individual will go unnoticed,” Kanojia said.

Rajesh Yadav, superintendent of police of Purulia, said there would be an additional force of at least 800 armed police personnel Tuesday.

“We are on alert since Monday morning. Already police patrolling has started across the district. Every guest at the function, every bag and every vehicle will be thoroughly checked. There will be sniffer dogs and metal detectors,” Yadav told IANS over phone Monday.

Yadav said the police would keep an eye specially on any suspicious movement.

“We can’t divulge the details of security measures. But let me tell you one thing, if the police find anything or anyone suspicious during Bhattacharjee’s stay Tuesday, we may confiscate that thing or detain that person,” he said.

Purulia is one of the three Maoist-hit districts in West Bengal, the others being Burdwan and West Midnapore.

This will be Bhattacharjee’s first visit to a Maoist-hit area after Nov 2, 2008, when he and Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan had a close shave as suspected Maoists triggered a landmine blast on the route of their convoy in West Midnapore district, leaving six policemen injured.

A landmine went off at Kalaichandi culvert near Bhadutala when the ministers were returning from the ground-breaking ceremony of a 10 million-tonne mega steel plant being set up by JSW Bengal Steel in the Maoist-hit Shalboni area.

Both Bhattacharjee and Paswan were unhurt in the blast.

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