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Bengal may send forces for Bihar elections

Indrani Dutta

The Centre has asked for 20 companies of State Armed Police


The State government had last week expressed its inability to comply with the request

“State armed forces and paramilitary personnel were engaged in anti-Maoist operation”


KOLKATA: Following a repeat request from the Centre, the West Bengal Government is considering sending some of its forces for the upcoming elections in Bihar.

A senior State Government official here said on Monday that the Centre has asked for 20 companies of the State Armed Police for the five-phase Bihar Assembly elections from October 21 to November 20. The government had last week expressed its inability to send armed forces for the elections.

“The State Government has written to the Centre seeking an exemption,” said Home Secretary Samara Ghosh.

The West Bengal Government's letter stated that its armed forces were engaged in joint operations with paramilitary personnel in the Jangalmahal areas in three districts affected by left-wing extremism. “The anti-Maoist combat operations are now in a decisive phase with the process of surrender being triggered, but it is still witnessing spells of violence which needs increased presence of the security forces. Incidents of arson and killings and explosions continue,” it mentioned.

The State Government has also mentioned that it needs its police personnel also during the ensuing festive season, with the Durga Puja festival beginning mid-October this year.

Such is the pressure on the State police force during the period that it has to often draft civilian volunteers to complement its over 90,000-strong force and to manage the surge of people arriving in Kolkata from the districts to take part in the festivities spreading over four days, it added.

In the past, some Central forces had to be withdrawn from the State for elections in neighbouring states including Jharkhand.

However despite this missive, the Centre had again pressed with its “request”.

A second letter was received on Friday, Mr. Ghosh confirmed to The Hindu on Monday.

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