Centre agrees continuance of central forces in West Bengal

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New Delhi, Oct 12 (ANI): The Union Government on Monday decided to continue with the deployment of 17 companies of Central Police Forces in West Bengal for the operation in Lalgarh.

The decision came after a meeting between West Bengal Chief Minster Budhadeb Bhattacharjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here today.

In the meeting, Bhattacharjee urged the Centre to continue with the central forces deputation of in the state for some more time to aid the state police in anti-Naxal operations.

Addressing a press conference after meeting Singh, Bhattachrjee said he had asked for the continuance of Central Police Forces, especially in the Lalgarh region to provide stability to the operation.

On Sunday, Bhattacharjee met Home Minster P Chidambaram and Finance Minster Pranab Mukherjee separately.

In these meetings, Bhattacharjee, favored continuance of joint operations by West Bengal Police along with the Jharkhand Police.

"Without simultaneous operations in Jharkhand, it will be difficult for the (Bengal) police to hold on to the gains made against Maoists in areas like West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura Districts," Bhattacharjee said.

"Through the joint operations we have achieved some gains in the last few months...We are now dominating the areas of West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura. By dominating, we mean that the police is functioning normally, the administration is functioning almost as usual. But there are sporadic incidents," he added.

He said the security forces would start operations in other parts of the state, especially those bordering Jharkhand, where most of the Maoist infrastructure, training camps and strongholds are located.

Commenting on Singh's statement that talks could be held with Left extremists if they lay down arms, Bhattacharjee said: "This has been my consistent position too from the beginning."

Bhattacharjee said extremists were attacking and killing innocent people, police personnel and government servants "creating serious problems".

Replying to a question that the CPM had earlier come to power after a long battle with Naxalites, Bhattacharjee said: "At that time it was different. We fought them politically and ideologically. Now, it is a new phenomenon. We can't be blamed for the havoc created by Maoists in Chhattisgarh."

Bhattachrjee claimed that the Maoists are now a group of misguided people trying to use poverty to expand their base and there is no ideology and no programme remained with them. (ANI)

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