Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has ruled out Operation Green Hunt in his state.
On a two-day tour to Maoist dominated district of West Midnapore, Bhattacharjee has vowed to tackle the Maoist problem in Bengal in its own style, keeping in mind the nuances and peculiarities of the problem in Bengal.
“The state government will deal with the problem,” he said.
Bowing to local demands, the Chief Minister also announced the withdrawal of combined forces from school buildings in and around Lalgarh by 15 November.
Over the past few weeks, there have been a number of demonstrations and rallies by schoolchildren and teachers protesting the continued occupation of the school buildings by security forces.
“The situation is better now than it was six months ago,” claimed Bhattacharjee. “Now the security forces dominate metalled roads. We have to take control of the interior villages and the forests,” he added.
On 18 June the Bengal government pressed combined forces of the Centre and state in and around Lalgarh, about 200 km to the west of Kolkata. This move came after the police were denied entry to these zones for about eight months.
Addressing a press conference on Sunday afternoon Bhattacharjee made it clear that he favoured a precise approach in dealing with the Maoists and not launch a counteroffensive like Operation Green Hunt that may end up hurting a huge population.
Today Bhattacharjee again charged Trinamool Congress to be in league with the Maoists in Bengal. “They are providing logistical, moral and physical support to the Maoists,” he commented.
He termed the Maoists as terrorists and nothing but criminals. “They lack even basic human values,” commented the Bengal Chief Minister.
Yet, while dealing with Maoists Bhattacharjee admitted being closer to the line taken by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Over the past few days Singh has stated that the tribals have been deprived of development.
Bhattacharjee also stated that about 60 cadres of his own party the Communist Party of India (Marxist) have been killed by Maoists. “They are passing through a tough time,” he said.
But he claimed that the morale of the police force was not sagging, despite the abduction of officer-in-charge of Sankrail police station (in West Midnapore) Atindranath Datta and the killing of two officers inside the police station.
Bhattacharjee also ruled out any talks with the tribal body Peoples Committee Against Police Atrocities unless they lay down their arms.