After a Trinamool Congress supporter was killed in Purulia, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday hinted at unleashing joint security forces against Maoist guerrillas.
Banerjee also urged villagers of Junglemahal (forested stretches of Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore) to form village patrol committees and counter Maoist attacks.
“I have halted the joint forces’ operation for the last four months after coming to power. I had tried to solve the issue through talks. But these killers (Maoists) are not interested in talks," she said.
"So we are planning to start joint forces (paramilitary forces and West Bengal police) operation because we can’t let the common men die like this at the hands of these killers,” she added.
Banerjee’s comments came after Trinamool Congress supporter Jitu Singh Sardar was killed in Balrampur area of Purulia district.
“A Trinamool Congress supporter was killed today. We are investigating,” said Purulia police Superintendent Sudip Choudhury.
Banerjee called upon the villagers of Junglemahal to “form village defence committees and counter the Maoist attacks”
She said the Maoists had some support base in Kolkata also.
“Those who support these Maoists are not intellectuals but individuals who are on the payroll of the Maoists. If they (ultras) think that they can kill at their sweet will, then they are wrong. They should not take the patience being shown by the state government as our weakness. It our duty to protect the masses,” said Banerjee.
Banerjee alleged that the Maoists were getting support from "armed goons" of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).
“We know that armed goons of CPI-M are helping the Maoists in killing Trinamool activists. The goons who participated in Nandigram and Netai genocides are now helping Maoists. For the last few months the Maoists are targeting important members of our party,” she said.
Banerjee also slammed the Maoists for taking conflicting approaches in the name of Maoism in India and Nepal.
“In Nepal they are part of democracy though they have failed to do anything for the people. But in India they don’t believe in democracy. How can the same ideology have two different versions. This is hypocrisy.”
Banerjee also suspected a foreign hand behind the Maoist aggression.
"I think these Maoists are getting support from foreign powers because there are some foreign powers who can't tolerate India's progress," she said.
The erstwhile Left Front regime had deployed both the paramilitary and the state police against the Maoists in June 2009 to reclaim areas where the Maoists had set up bases.
Banerjee, who repeatedly asked for withdrawal of joint forces while in the opposition, adopted a soft approach towards the Maoists after taking power in May.
She has been hardening her stand after a spate of killings in Jungemahal, allegedly by the Maoists, since August.