Security beefed up for 48-hour Maoist bandh

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Kolkata, Nov 18 (UNI) Maoist-affected Purulia, Midnapore and Bankura districts of West Bengal have been brought under a security net ahead of a 48-hour bandh called by the ultras from tomorrow to protest the Nandigram carnage.

Purulia and Bankura Superintendents of Police Asok Kumar Prasad and Rajsekhar Singh today informed that all the police stations in the districts have been alerted and police patrol increased at various check posts, especially at the nine points where Purulia shares its border with Jharkhand.

Police forces had been doubled in most naxal-dominated areas, especially Bandwan, Jaipur, Kotshila, Boro, Jhalda and Balarampur of Purulia district and Propar, Deliatori and Mukutmanipur of Bankura district.

Posters were also found in several villages of Purulia seeking the "heads" of CPI(M) leaders Gobordhan Seal, Mihir Bauri and Sitaram Mahto for their alleged atrocities on villagers. Police suspect that these had also been put up by the Maoists.

A report from Midnapore said that the district administrative and police havw taken adepuate measures to check any untoward incident during the 48-hour bandh called from tomorrow.

West Midnapore District Magistrate N S Nigam said all essential services would be maintained throughout the district.

''In Jhargram Sub-division, where Maoists have a stronghold and where two Panchayet offices were burnt down in two consecutive days, including today, adequate police arrangements had been made with CRPF, EFR and RAF personnel being deployed for continuous patrol in the area,'' SDO Jhargram Eron Ebrahim Israel said.

Incidentally, Maoists today set on fire the Baita Panchayat office under Lalgarh police station in West Midnapore district causing extensive damage. The attack followed yesterday's landmine blast at Bhulaveda village under Belpahari police station by the proscribed group in which the panchayat office was gutted.

Bus services throughout West Midnapore district would be maintained with special police escort being provided in case passengers were stranded in any particular place.

Security was also strengthened in neighbouring Bihar and Jharkhand where the rebels have called the two-day bandh.

UNI

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