Police make peace with villagers in West Bengal’s Lalgarh

December 13th, 2008 - 7:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Dec 13 (IANS) Senior police officials went to violence-hit Lalgarh area in West Midnapore district of West Bengal Saturday to make peace with villagers protesting for the past one-and-a-half months against police harassment. “We sent a police team to visit trouble-prone Lalgarh and its adjoining areas. They went there and talked to several villagers on various issues,” West Midnapore police superintendent R.K. Singh told IANS.

The team, headed by the district’s deputy superintendent of police (Operations) Arnab Ghosh, visited Lalgarh’s Madhabpur village Saturday morning, he said, adding this was the first time in more than past one month the police have entered the area, after the area’s residents protested against alleged police excesses.

“Police are always there for the welfare of local people. There may be some misunderstanding but we cannot continue this any further. Now our focus is to restore normalcy at the ground zero,” Singh said.

“We told them that police would cooperate with the villagers in future. We also asked them to share all information with the local administration if they face any problem or hostile situation,” he said.

“We will continue to interact with the tribal communities at Lalgarh. We will forward their demand and grievances to the state government,” he said, adding that the villagers were also very ‘cooperative’ during the time of interaction with the police.

Singh said next week, he, along with West Midnapore district magistrate N.S Nigam, will visit the trouble-torn areas of Lalgarh and hold a meeting with the locals to restore peace there.

The West Bengal government has already begun a process of damage control with senior state government officials going to Dalilpur and Chotopelia - two troubled villages in the Maoist-affected region in the district - and hearing the villagers’ complaints.

Trouble sparked off in different parts of Lalgarh after the police allegedly arrested some school students and harassed tribal women following the landmine blast on the route of state Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s convoy at Bhadutala near Salboni last month.

Protesting tribals dug up metalled roads and placed tree trunks across them, virtually cutting off the region from the rest of the district.

Alleging police excesses on them, they launched a non-cooperation movement, demanding the police apologise to the villagers.

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