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Forces cannot be sent to Bihar, says West Bengal

Special Correspondent

‘State requires forces for anti-Maoist operations'

Kolkata: The West Bengal Government has expressed inability to send its armed forces for the coming five-phase Bihar elections from October 21 to November 20.

As it is customary for the Centre to ask the States to share their forces with the neighbouring States during elections, the Union Government made a request to West Bengal.

However, a senior official of the West Bengal Home Department said here on Monday: “The State Government has written a letter to the Centre seeking exemption from this requirement.”

The letter said the State's armed forces were engaged in joint operations with paramilitary personnel in the Jangalmahal area in three of the districts identified as affected by left wing extremism.

The anti-Maoist operations are now in a decisive phase.

The process of surrender has begun amid spells of violence, which needs increased presence of the security forces.

West Bengal also said that it required its police personnel for the coming festive season, with the Durga Puja festival beginning mid-October.

Such is the pressure on the State police during this period that it often drafts civilian volunteers to complement its over 90,000-strong force. There will be a surge of people from districts to Kolkata to take part in the four-day festivities.

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