March 25, 2009 2:24:19 am
Having learnt the lesson from the Nandigram police firing incident that claimed 14 lives in 2007,the state government is being cautious in its plan to flush out Maoists from Lalgarh.
For the last five months,a large portion of the area,comprising 22 villages,has remained virtually out of the administrations reach with the police force not being allowed to function there. On March 21,suspected Maoists fired upon a police party,inuring two personnel.
We have to get rid of Maoists in the area before the elections. Well,the operation will see a confrontation,but that will take place with the Maoists,not with the general people. We will have to be very tactful. Our aim is not to endanger the lives of general people while carrying out the operation, said state Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen on Tuesday.
During the elections,hundreds of poll officials,along with policemen and other para-military forces,will be at Lalgarh. We cannot allow armed Maoists to roam around the area. Hence,the police action, Sen added.
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Later in the day,the West Midnapore district administration,in a bid to break the impasse with tribals,met a delegation of Santrash Birodhi Committee of Lalgarh led by Chattradhar Mahato. But the meeting failed to break the deadlock.
Mahato told the local administration that he will get back to them after consulting his own men, Sen said.
Meanwhile,Chief Secretary Asok Mohan Chakrabarti justified the decision to launch police action. Its the duty of the police to protect the lives and property of general people, Chakrabarti said.
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