|Rush paramilitary forces as requested by government: CPI(M)|
— Photos: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury, Special Arrangement
Unabated violence: Tribals take out a rally at Lalgarh in West Bengal on Tuesday in support of the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities.
KOLKATA: Even as violence continued to rage at Lalgarh in Paschim Medinipur district, the West Bengal government on Tuesday expressed concern at attempts by the Police Santrosh Birodhi Janashadharaner Committee (PSBJC) [People’s Committee against Police Atrocities], the Maoist-backed local resistance group, to extend its influence to new areas in the region.
One company of Central paramilitary forces arrived at Lalgarh to help the police restore normality. The government had sought five additional companies and is expecting another two or three companies, Chief Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty said here.
“The problem is spreading,” District Magistrate N.S. Nigam told The Hindu on the phone from Medinipur, referring to the developments at Lalgarh, where the PSBJC, with the support of the Maoists, is gaining ground and making forays into the adjoining Salboni thana. Local authorities apprehend that “the situation is going beyond the scope of establishing the rule of law.”
The police in the Lalgarh area “are under pressure but not demoralised,” Mr. Chakraborty said. “That Maoist activity has affected normal life in the area is a reality…It is up to you to [to conclude whether or not the area is liberated,” he said to a question whether the government believed that the Maoists were extending their “liberated zone.”
Tribals damage CPI(M) office at Lalgarh. “Tribals being used as human shields”
In a statement, the Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said: “…The Maoists are using poor tribals as human shields to further their goals. Shockingly these depredations have the indirect and direct support of important sections of the Opposition political parties in West Bengal.”
Though the PSBJC leadership has claimed that it has no link with the Maoists, a leader of the outfit recently admitted to journalists at Lalgarh that it had been in the thick of developments ever since an agitation was launched in the area by the PSBJC against alleged police excesses in November last.
The CPI(M) district leadership has been insisting that the PSBJC is another “front” of the Maoists, who are trying to establish a corridor through Lalgarh to other parts of the State.
The Maoists out to create terror in the State have been sneaking in from the adjoining Jharkhand. “We have repeatedly been telling the Jharkhand government that the terror is emanating from that State, and there is need for cooperation between the two governments [to counter Maoist activity in the region]….They [the Jharkhand government] have to do more to jointly combat terrorism,” Mr. Chakraborty said.
The Polit Bureau called upon the Centre to “immediately rush the required number of paramilitary forces to the [Lalgarh] area as requested by the West Bengal government.”
“The Polit Bureau strongly condemns the killings and attacks by armed Maoist gangs on CPI(M) cadre and the reign of terror unleashed in the Lalgarh area…. Nine CPI(M) members have been abducted. The bodies of three have been found, but the others have not been traced,” the statement said. The party’s State Secretariat met in the evening to discuss ways of stopping the continuing attacks on CPI(M) leaders and workers at Lalgarh.