West Bengal government promises action against police excesses


Kolkata : The West Bengal government Wednesday held a meeting with organisations agitating in the Maoist violence hit Lalgarh area of West Midnapore district, and promised to look into police excesses on people during landmine blast investigations.

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“The state government will definitely take action against the police if they are found guilty. We’ll look into the issue and find out if anything wrong had been done to the local people who are mostly tribals,” Home Secretary Ashok Mohon Chakraborty told reporters after the meeting with the tribal representatives at Jhargram in West Mindapore district.

He said: “The government has discussed the issue with six local tribal organisations in the meeting and requested them to withdraw the agitation programme for the sake of the people living in the region.”

The meeting at the Jhargram circuit house was also attended by Director General of Police A.B Vora. The talks continued for more than two hours.

“We want normalcy to be restored at Lalgarh but a few people are still trying to continue the stalemate. Now people have to decide what they want – peace or trouble,” Chakraborty added.

Chakraborty, who left for Kolkata immediately after the meeting, was also to submit a report to Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee Wednesday evening.

In the meeting, the state administration also evinced interestn in holding a meeting at Lalgarh. Additional District Magistrate R.A. Israel has been given the responsibility to facilitate the meeting.

Leaders of various tribal groups – some of which are suspected to have links with the Maoists – are protesting for more than a week against alleged police actions against people.

They dug up metalled roads, placed big three trunks on it, virtually cutting off the trouble-prone zone from the rest of the district.

The area residents also demanded a public apology from the district police for the actions against them in the course of investigation into a landmine blast Nov 2 when the chief minister and two central ministers were returning to Kolkata from a private steel plant foundation laying ceremony.

Trouble began at Lalgarh after the district police arrested some school students and allegedly heckled tribal women after the landmine blast that went off when the convoy of Bhattacharjee and central ministers Ram Vilas Paswan and Jitin Prasada was passing near Bhadutala Nov 2.

Though all the three leaders had a narrow escape, six policemen were injured in the blast.