Throwing an open challenge to the Maoists from Belpahari in West Midnapore,Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said the state government is ready to take on the rebels if attempts are made to shatter peace in the tribal belt.
She announced that those who have quit the path of violence and laid down arms will be provided jobs. Jobs will also be given to the next of kin of the victims of Maoist violence,she added.
A Maoist cadre,Rabi Murmu of Jhargram,surrendered before the chief minister. She also deposited two rifles and 22 rounds of cartridges with police.
Addressing a mammoth rally at a ground adjacent to the Belpahari BDO office,Mamata warned that those entering villages through the Bengal-Jharkhand and Bengal Orissa border to teach the innocent youths the politics of arms will be dealt with sternly.
If you think that you will destroy peace,I will never allow you to do so. We fought a prolonged battle to restore peace in the area. I will foil every attempt to shatter peace till the last day of my life, Mamata said. To encourage people in the fight against Maoists,she urged tribals not to be scared.
Mamatas remarks came in the wake of intelligence reports that the Maoists were planning to strike police camps in Belpahari on the lines of the attack on the Silda camp,which left many EFR jawans dead in 2010.
The chief minister said that though Maoists had been thrown out of Nayagram,Gopiballavpur,Jhargram,Silda and Sankrail,rebel activities had been noticed in a few pockets of Belpahari,which is very close to Jharkhand,a Maoist haven.
We have reports that Maoists are coming here from Jharkhand and Orissa. They are few in number. Do not be afraid. Drive them out, Mamata appealed.
For development,we need peace. The area has potential to become a tourist hub. We will set up a tourism circuit here,which will create huge employment opportunities. But what will happen if the peace gets disturbed? Will tourists come? Will employment be generated? she asked.
Mamata instructed the police to keep data of those fighting against the Maoists. Those fighting against them will be given preference during recruitment drive. The state government has decided to recruit 5,000 more policemen from Junglemahal. The Railway will recruit 700 youths from Junglemahal,she said.