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Silda mayhem: Buddha admits lapses,orders probe

Three days after the audacious attack on the EFR Camp at Silda in West Midnapore in which Maoists gunned down 24 jawans...

Written by Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay | Kolkata | Published: February 19, 2010 3:32 am

Three days after the audacious attack on the EFR Camp at Silda in West Midnapore in which Maoists gunned down 24 jawans,Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today broke his silence,blaming the mayhem on the lack of policemen’s alertness and announcing the setting up of a committee to probe the attack and fix responsibility for the lapse.

Asked if guilty policemen will be punished,the CM said,“Everybody knows what happens in an inquiry committee.” Bhattacharjee also chided state Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen and DGP Bhupinder Singh who made contradictory statements to the press yesterday regarding the nature of the inquiry.

While Sen had said the committee would also fix the responsibility for the attack,the DGP said it would only look into how the attack took place. “The way the two made conflicting statements was unfortunate. I asked them to sit together and thrash out the issue. I have also told them this mistake should not happen in future,” the CM said.

Later,the DGP refused to talk to reporters when approached.

Sen said in the evening that the terms of references for the committee would be decided soon.

The chief minister said his government had taken some corrective measures to prevent such attacks. “The Silda camp will be shifted out of the locality and will be relocated at a forest land that has already been identified. The DGP has gone there to finalise the site,” he said,adding a sensitisation process for all the police stations in Naxalite-affected areas has also been started in the right earnest.

Regarding the visit by two officials of the Union Home Ministry,Bhatacharjee said the state government had no problem with them. “One team has already come and another is coming. They informed us beforehand. They are most welcome. The two governments can function together,” the chief minister said,adding Home Minister P Chidambaram had called him and apprised him of the situation.

Meanwhile,according to a senior state police officer,the state government was thinking of replacing aged jawans of EFR with younger ones. “Many of them are over 40 and lack agility. We are planning to replace them with younger ones,” the officer said.

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