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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2705

Delhi asks West Bengal Govt to ban Maoist Naxalites

By M Rama Rao, India Editor, Asian Tribune

New Delhi, 20 June, ( As the Marxist communist government in West Bengal is battling the Maoist menace in Lalgarh, which is less than 200 kms from state capital, Kolkata, the Manmohan Singh government in Delhi asked for a Bengal ban on the Left wing extremists.

Speaking after a cabinet meeting, the Federal Minister for the Interior, Palaniappan Chidambaram told reporters that he endorsed the appeal of the chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee for negotiations with the Left Wing extremists and the local tribals. ‘I endorse that appeal. If they wish to talk, they should come forward to do so. We will be happy to facilitate the talks’.

About the anti Maoist operation, Chidambaram said, ‘the operation is going according to plans but they (police and paramilitary) must be prepared for the unexpected. Progress will be slow… An operation of this kind will take some time. In fact, it will take considerably more time than was anticipated ….I sincerely hope that with the kind of action we have advised, the operation will be successful’.

He indicated that the security forces could expand their operations to adjoining districts of Bankura and Purulia.

The Minister denied the Marxist charge of Congress –Trinamul nexus with the Maoists.

‘I think it is completely unjustified and unwarranted to insinuate that CPI-Maoists was being supported by Congress and Trinamul’.

The Federal Minister skirted the question whether it was a war-like situation in Lalgarh, saying ‘Government does not go to war with is own people. There they may have grievances. But there is a way to resolve the grievances in a democracy’. He asserted that the operation in Lalgarh was aimed at establishing civil administration in the area. He made it clear that the operation was not aimed at local tribals but at the Naxals who have been dominating the area. Any grievances the local people had, would have to be resolved by the state government. But the militant organization cannot be allowed to capitalize on the accumulated grievances.

No Army Development

Defence Minister A K Antony has ruled out the possibility of sending armed forces to fight Maoists at Lalgarh area in West Bengal.

‘Armed forces can give only logistic support (to the local police). There is no idea to directly involve armed forces to fight Maoists’, Antony told reporters on the sideline of an Army function in New Delhi on Friday.

Terming the Maoist violence as a matter of serious concern, he expressed confidence that the state police and paramilitary forces would be able to meet the challenge.

- Asian Tribune -

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