'Police operation in West Bengal's Lalgarh a must before polls'
Kolkata, April 6 (IANS) Police operations will definitely be carried out in West Bengal's tribal-dominated Lalgarh to unearth Maoists guerrillas from the region before the Lok Sabha polls, a senior state official said Monday.
'Even if the people of Lalgarh put up resistance, we will have to carry out police operation to hold the Lok Sabha elections there,' West Bengal Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen told reporters in Kolkata's adjoining North 24-Parganas district.
Sen said: 'We are in the process of working out a proper method on how the police force will enter the region without causing any trouble to the common people. We will not clash with villagers there.'
'Still, there is a group of armed people, more than a hundred in number, which is active in Lalgarh. If they come in our way, we'll have to clash with them during the police operation,' Sen added.
The members of the People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), formed by the agitating tribals said Sunday that they would put up mass resistance if security forces tried to enter the area.
PCAPA leader Chatradhar Mahato said if they allow the police or the paramilitary forces to enter, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) hooligans will sneak into Lalgarh in the disguise of security forces.
For conducting the Lok Sabha polls, Mahato said the Election Commission representatives should approach the PCAPA, which would provide security to all polling personnel.
The PCAPA has already put up two check-posts at Raigarh and Barotelia to prevent the police and activists of the CPI-M, the state's main ruling party, from entering the area.
Trouble erupted in Lalgarh last November after the police arrested some school students and allegedly harassed tribal women following a landmine blast on the route of the convoy of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and central ministers Ram Vilas Paswan and Jitin Prasada near Bhadutala area.
Later, the tribals dug up roads, virtually cutting off the trouble-prone zone from rest of the district. They also demanded a public apology from the police for the alleged excesses against them.
Lalgarh is some 250 km from Kolkata.
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