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Support grows for troopers

Faces wrapped with black cloth, about 200 Eastern Frontier Rifles troopers in civilian clothes and their relatives held a demonstration at the organisation’s headquarters in Salua town on Sunday.

india Updated: Feb 22, 2010 00:05 IST

Faces wrapped with black cloth, about 200 Eastern Frontier Rifles troopers in civilian clothes and their relatives held a demonstration at the organisation’s headquarters in Salua town on Sunday.

They demanded no action be taken against the officer who blamed the West Midnapore police and administration for the Maoist carnage in the district’s Silda town six days ago.

The Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR), with 1,800 men, is deployed only in West Bengal.

Special Inspector General Binoy Chakraborty had on Saturday covered his face with black cloth and held a conference blaming the district police and administration for the Maoist attack on an EFR camp in Silda. The attack resulted in death of 24 EFR troopers.

The demonstration was held after word spread that the IG had been suspended for his utterances. “We give the government 48 hours to declare that no action will be taken against him (Chakraborty). If this (demand) is not met, we will launch an agitation,” said Bikash Thapa, a relative of an EFR trooper.

“We have asked him (Chakraborty) to explain his action in writing,” Partha Bhattacharya, additional director general, EFR, said on Sunday.

“We expect his explanation to reach us by Monday,” he said. Further action against Chakraborty will be considered after looking at his explanation.

State Director General of Police Bhupinder Singh on Sunday denied media reports that Chakraborty had been suspended for his remarks. “Chakraborty has not been suspended,” Singh said in Kolkata.

Santosh Rai, a relative of another trooper, said: “We’ll hold peaceful demonstrations but if our demands are not met we will march to the state secretariat in Kolkata.”

The protest has complicated things for Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee because he also depends on the EFR for anti-Maoist operations.

(With PTI inputs)