After a brief lull, Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government is gearing up to resume the armed offensive against Maoists.
The renewed efforts come after her ultimatum, asking Maoists to shed weapons within seven days and come for talks. Maoists have so far not shown any inclination to join the peace-talks. Sources said the state had sent a request to the home ministry seeking two battalions of central paramilitary forces for anti-Naxal operations in the Jangalmahal area.
Ironically, after coming to power in May, Banerjee had almost stalled the joint operations prompting the home ministry to send a letter a couple of weeks ago, asking her to return one battalion of the central forces deployed in the state. The Centre had deployed six battalions of forces to assist the state police in anti-Naxal drive.
Now, top government sources indicated that the additional 2000 personnel had been sought by the state considering the Jangalmahal situation. During the past few months, several Trinamool Congress supporters have been butchered allegedly by Maoists.
Meanhwile, pro-Maoist Committee of Democratic Rights Organisations (CDRO), a human rights umbrella group sympathetic towards the Maoists, on Monday laid down three conditions for Banerjee. In a statement issued by Asish Gupta, coordinator of the CDRO, said, “She should withdraw the joint forces, release political prisoners and ask Maoists to come for talks.”
The CDRO also slammed the government for not fulfilling its poll promises regarding the Maoists.
“The announcement, coming on the heels of raids and arrests of local activists, harassment and detention of fact-finding members and sealing of Jangalmahal, is a clear indication of the opportunistic attitude of the Trinamool Congress,” said a CDRO release.