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West Bengal government plans police action in Lalgarh

Indrani Dutta

KOLKATA: The West Bengal government will finalise its plan of police action in Lalgarh in Paschim Medinipur within the next seven days, State Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen said. This was necessary to ensure elections in that area, which has witnessed tribal agitation since November last year.

Talking to journalists at the State Secretariat here on Saturday, Mr. Sen said: “By April 11 or 12, we hope to give you a comprehensive plan of action.”

Earlier in the day, State Chief Secretary Ashoke Mohan Chakraborty held a meeting in this regard. It was attended by the Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia, the Director General of Police (Co-ordination) Bhupinder Singh, besides Mr. Sen.

Mr. Sen said that while there was a police presence in this troubled area, the forces were being blocked by the resistance committee set up by the local people with help from ultra-left forces. “While police action is necessary, we will do it while avoiding any conflict with the local people.”

Chhatradhar Mahato, leader of the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities, said vigil would be stepped up to prevent any untoward incident and check-posts were being set up in the area to prevent the entry of outsiders, trying to foment trouble.

West Bengal Chief Electoral Officer Debashis Sen said the Election Commission would take all steps to ensure free and fair polls in Lalgarh and it was watching the situation now.

He said the government had submitted a report on the situation in this area to the State election office.

Left Front Committee chairman Biman Bose said the constitutional rights of the people of the area were being violated and the administration should take necessary measures.

Lalgarh become a fountain-head of a tribal agitation, consequent to the police action launched after a blast, which narrowly missed the convoy of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Union Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, returning after launching the steel project of the O.P. Jindal group in Salboni in November 2008.

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