Troopers despatched to Lalgarh in West Bengal, unrest spreads

June 17th, 2009 - 12:56 am ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, June 16 (IANS) The central government despatched five paramilitary companies to tackle the Maoist-led violence in West Bengal’s Lalgarh even as unrest spread to Sarenga in neighbouring Bankura district Tuesday with calls for a boycott of police.
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel, trained in anti-Maoist fight, moved in from neighoburing Jharkhand. One company is already in Lalgarh, another will reach the area by Tuesday night, while three more have started from the neighbouring state, official sources said.

The Maoist rebels have virtually converted Lalgarh in West Midnapore district into a free zone, torching and razing to the ground offices of the state’s ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), driving out its leaders and setting ablaze police camps.

Three CPI-M leaders were killed in the party’s stronghold Dharampur Sunday after the party’s cadres clashed with activists of the Maoist-spearheaded tribal body People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) since Saturday.

As the PCAPA virtually wiped out the resistance in Dharampur, the pocket in Lalgarh from which the CPI-M had been resisting the Maoists, more than 2,000 CPI-M leaders, workers and supporters fled the area as TV visuals showed some people breaking a picturesque two-storey building belonging to a Marxist leader into pieces.

In an evidence of the increasing confidence of the Maoists, a key leader of the rebel outfit held a press conference in Lalgarh Monday, with his back to the television camera, and revealed that his organisation was behind the landmine blast attempting to kill Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacahrjee last november.

“The people have given the verdict to kill him. Someone needs to execute it, so we took charge of it,” Maoist leader Bikash told reporters.

He also declared that the Maoists had controlled the PCAPA-led movement since November.

In Kolkata, Bhattacharjee held a meeting with CRPF officers and senior police officers including the director general of police Tuesday to draw up a blueprint for the central forces to crush the Maoists.

The CPI-M state committee, in a press release, blamed the Trinamool Congress and its “associates, the Maoists” for the “fascist” violence in the state.

Meanwhile, posters appeared at Sarenga in Bankura district, which borders West Midnapore, asking people to boycott police.

The posters put up at Sarenga market and near the Sarenga police station directed shop owners not to sell any articles to police and ordered that policemen be not allowed to draw water from the village tubewells.

Railways Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee termed the law and order situation in the state as “dreadful” and asked the administration to speed up the process of securing illegal arms from areas that have witnessed political violence.

“I would like to ask the home secretary to free those people who have been imprisoned following false allegations made by the CPI-M and to book those people under the Arms Act from whose houses arms have been recovered,” Banerjee told reporters at a press meet.

“We would like to request the central government agencies to seize all these arms and ammunitions immediately,” she said.

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