After Singur and Nandigram, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has another trouble spot to deal with — Lalgarh.
Lalgarh has been witnessing a virtual tribal uprising, allegedly over the manhandling of four women by policemen conducting search operations after the landmine attack on the convoys of the chief minister and two Union ministers last month. Backing the tribals are several factions of the Jharkhand Party, reportedly with the tacit support of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha.
On Thursday, Bhattacharjee broke his silence to regret the alleged policy atrocity. “I feel ashamed,” he told the state assembly.
All efforts to make peace have failed and the situation has given the Trinamool Congress yet another opportunity to corner the CM.
In the House, Leader of Opposition Partha Chattopadhyay sought a reaction from the CM. Bhattacharjee opted to come clear. He first announced that despite the fact that “the government has come to know Maoists are supporting the agitation”, the government had no plan to ban the CPI(Maoist). He said the government does not want any police operation right now.
“The Left parties have worked for tribals for decades. But the Maoists are provoking local tribals to create disturbance. They (Maoists) are cowards. They are evil,” he said.
“The Maoists are taking advantage of the rough terrain between Bengal and Jharkhand. They are crossing over to Bengal... But they should not forget that more than 1.17 lakh tribals have received pensions during the Left Front rule. I admit drinking water is a problem. The Public Health Engineering department sent to pumps to Lalgarh but the agitators didn't let the pumps reach their destination. Now you decide who is working in the interest of the tribals,” he said.
The CM said the government was ready to sit with tribal leaders, provided the meeting is in a government office.