iconimg Saturday, August 29, 2015

HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times
Lalgarh/Kolkata, June 17, 2009
The Maoists have plans to expand their 1,000-sq-km ‘liberated zone’ in West Midnapore district of West Bengal to include Salboni and Goaltore – two more areas in the district. Announcing this, the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA), which is spearheading the anti-government movement in the state, admitted on Tuesday that it was indeed backed by the Communist Party of India(Maoist).

Over the past eight months, the PCPA has virtually taken over the Lalgarh police station area and set up the Naxalites’ second ‘liberated zone’ in the country – after Dantewada in Chhattisgarh.

It started with a bomb attack on Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s convoy on November 2 last year. He was on his way back from Salboni after laying the foundation stone of a steel plant.

Following harsh police action after the attack, the Maoists formed the PCPA to spread their wings in the area and ‘liberated’ 1,100 villages, where the state government’s writ no longer runs.  

Even paramilitary forces are unable to enter the area. On Tuesday, about 2,000 armed tribals prevented security forces from entering Lalgarh.

HT first reported on the Maoist state within the state of West Bengal on June 8.

Now, the CPI-M, left with no other option but to use force, has decided to deploy Central paramilitary forces in the area. Earlier, the state also urged the Centre to send five companies, said chief secretary A.M. Chakrabarti.

The Union Home Ministry on Tuesday evening ordered 500 paramilitary personnel to be rushed from Jharkhand to Lalgarh. A Central Reserve Police Force officer in Delhi said, “They should be in Lalgarh later tonight or early Wednesday morning.”

The CPI-M Politburo, the highest policy-making body of the party, condemned the recent murder of three of its leaders by Maoists with “direct and indirect support of important sections of the Opposition”.

The statement clearly indicated that the party expected its supporters to hit the streets but at the same time it wanted to use Central forces.

(With inputs from Political Bureau, Delhi)