Tribals block national highway alleging security forces for atrocities

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Durgapur (West Bengal), June 30 (ANI): Armed with bows and arrows, many tribals blocked the national highway leading to Durgapur in Hooghly district of West Bengal on Tuesday to express their fury over security forces' alleged atrocities in the guise of flushing out Maoists in Lalgarh region of west Medinipur district.

Protestors under the banner of Jharkhand Disom Party (JDP), a tribal organisation, alleged that the security personnel had committed grave atrocities by targeting innocent villagers, the tribal community, in particular, during their combing operation in search of Maoist rebels.

To vent their ire against this, the supporters of JDP blocked the traffic on the road leading to the steel city of Durgapur and onward to New Delhi for over two hours. They were demanding suspension of the mopping up operation by the uniformed personnel.

"We are demanding to stop the atrocities on the innocent tribals in the name of curbing Maoists in Lalgarh," said Laxmikanta Hansda, a tribal leader of Jharkhand Disom Party.

Police and Paramilitary forces began their final assault on a Maoist stronghold, Katapahari region of Paschimi (west) Medinipur district in West Bengal on Monday (June 29).

According to local reports, the state and central security forces in their joint operation have surrounded the Maoist bastion at Katrapahari, 6 kilometres from the epicentre Lalgarh. They were in the process of beginning of a two-pronged assault from the north and south to flush out the rebels.

On June 20, Police had regained control of Lalgarh, which was earlier captured by the Maoist rebels in one of the most brazen attacks in recent years that sparked unease among investors in the communist-ruled state.

Since then the Maoists have eluded the security forces, which are now aggressively looking for them.

Earlier this week, the Government at the Centre banned and formally labelled the Maoist insurgents "a terrorist group", hoping it would give security forces more enforcement powers after the rebels briefly created a 'liberated zone' in West Bengal. (ANI)

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