Guv summons top Bengal officials, EC to send a team

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Kolkata/New Delhi, Jan 13 (PTI) Unabated politicalviolence in West Bengal today came into sharp focus ahead ofassembly polls with Governor M K Narayanan asking top stategovernment officials to take immediate steps for mainintainglaw and order and the Election Commission deciding to send ateam of senior police officers to assess the situation.

Moving into a pro-active mode, the Governor summonedChief Secretary Samar Ghosh, Home secretary G D Gautama andDGP N Mukherjee and discussed the situation.

Gautama later told reporters in Kolkata that theGovernor asked the government to take immediate steps toprevent recurrence of violence and concentrate more attentionon maintaining law and order.

Narayanan was briefed about measures taken by thestate to curb growing violence, Gautama said.

"The Governor cited no specific issues or incidentsand held a general review of the law and order situation inthe state," he said.

After suspected CPI(M) armed cadre gunned down sevenvillagers at Netai village in Lalgarh on January seven,Narayanan had issued a strongly-worded statement saying it wasa day of "sorrow and shame" for the state and "no democracycan allow such violence".

Taking note of the political violence, the ElectionCommission decided to depute a team of five senior policeofficers, led by the Chief Electoral Officer of Bihar, to WestBengal on Monday to make a first-hand assessment of thesituation there.

The team will visit different districts and make anon-the-spot assessment and submit a report to the Commission,the EC said in a statement in New Delhi.

State Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Gupta said the teamwould reach Kolkata on Monday.

The decision to send a team has been taken followingrepresentations from several political parties, who had metthe EC officials here and in Kolkata recently, and mediareports on the issue, the EC statement added.

Noting that assembly polls to Tamil Nadu, Kerala, WestBengal, Assam and Puducherry were due by May-June, the EC saidit was taking all necessary measures, including keeping awatch on the law and order situation in these states.

West Bengal is witnessing a spate of violence in the pastfew months, including violence by Maoists and clashes betweenTrinamool Congress and Left parties.

Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi had duringhis visit here a few days ago voiced serious concern over thelaw and order situation in West Bengal. (more) PTI TEAM PAL

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