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Cops tell Lalgarh residents to carry IDs

Residents of the Maoist-dominiated Lalgarh area in Bengal’s West Midnapore district have been instructed by the police to carry their voter’s identity card or similar proof of identity whenever they step out of their homes.

kolkata Updated: May 13, 2010 01:21 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Hindustantimes
         

Residents of the Maoist-dominiated Lalgarh area in Bengal’s West Midnapore district have been instructed by the police to carry their voter’s identity card or similar proof of identity whenever they step out of their homes.

Visitors to Lalgarh are also required to carry proof of identity. This “Carrying voter ID cards or other valid photo ID proof has become necessary in Lalgarh. We have made the locals aware that this is for their own safety and security,” West Bengal Director General of Police Bhupinder Singh told HT on Wednesday.

“Soon the same system would be introduced in other Maoist-dominated areas such as Belpahari in West Midnapore, Barikul in Bankura and Bandowan in Purulia,” Singh said.

Police officials said Section 42 of the Criminal Procedure Code empowers them to challenge the identity of any person, and it is to prevent harassment that Lalgarh police station officials insist that residents carry identity cards.

“We cannot issue any notification to this effect, since it is not approved by the law. We can only try to persuade people,” Singh said.

However, none of the police officials HT spoke to could say whether the police in Maoist-dominated areas in other states have ever resorted to such tactics.

The police in Lalgarh claimed that a large section of the people have been responding to this arrangement in a positive manner. “Even in a market, people have started carrying some sort of identity proof,” said an officer who did not want to be named.

First Published: May 13, 2010 01:20 IST

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