A day after Home Minister P Chidambaram said the West Bengal government should ban the leftist extremist outfit, Communist Party of India-Maoist, which has entrenched itself in the state's Lalgarh area, state Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said in New Delhi on Saturday that his Left government would give the matter "serious thought".
"Chidambaram has advised me to ban the outfit, I said I will give the matter serious thought," Bhattacharjee told newspersons, adding "I have started thinking on what to do (about banning it)."
The chief minister, who is in the national capital, was addressing the media after meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister Chidambaram and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
He also alleged that a member of the opposition Trinamool Congress was linked to the tribal outfit People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), which was associated with the Maoists in Lalgarh.
The chief minister said the operation in Lalgarh to flush out the Maoist rebels would continue for some more time and added that he is happy that the central government had "acted quickly" to send forces to launch the offensive.
"The operation is continuing in Lalgarh and it will go on for some more time to flush out the Maoists," Bhattacharjee said.
"At least 18 of the 241 blocks in the state are either fully or partly affected by these Maoists. They are killing innocent people and no doubt people are the worst sufferers.
"We are happy that the government has responded quickly. They have already moved 23 companies of CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) and six companies of BSF (Border Security Force) personnel to the state," he said, adding that the prime minister and home minister had assured him of all support, including sending more central forces. "They assured that if we need more forces, they will send them to the state."
Security forces Saturday marched five kilometers through a forest, considered a Maoist den, to reach the Lalgarh block headquarters Saturday on the third day of the offensive launched by the West Bengal government.