Trinamool Congress demands all-party meet in Lalgarh


Kolkata : West Bengal’s main opposition Trinamool Congress Sunday asked the Left Front government to convene an all-party meeting to end the tribal agitation in West Midnapore’s Lalgarh area.

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“There is a need for an all-party meeting. The tribal representatives should be called. The meeting can be called at Lalgarh. After all, Lalgarh is not outside the state,” Trinamool leader Mamata Banerjee said.

Banerjee, however, made clear her opposition to calling the Maoists to the all-party meet. “I am not asking for any extremist organisation to be invited.”

Responding to the suggestion, Left Front chairman Biman Bose said it was a matter to be decided by the administration.

“This is the responsibility of the administration. The administration only can take a decision on this,” said Bose, also the state secretary of the Front major constituent Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).

Meanwhile, in Lalgarh, the agitating tribals Sunday lodged an official complaint against police atrocities in the aftermath of the Nov 2 landmine ambush at Bhadutala of the convoy of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and central ministers Ram Vilas Paswan and Jitin Prasada.

The complaint was registered at the Lalgarh police station, where agitators held a meeting with district administration officials Sunday.

Later, Jaipal Singh, a leader of the tribal organisation Bharat Jakat Majhi Marwa Juan Ganta, said the agitators would relax their blockade for five days to allow emergency services.

West Midnapore additional district magistrate R.A. Israel said the talks were positive. “We exchanged views. This is a democracy. We told them which of their demands we can meet, and which we can’t.”

The tribals under the banner of the Bharat Jakat Majhi Marwa Juan Ganta had earlier snapped drinking and irrigation water lines, power and telephone lines, and dug roads cutting off a stretch from Jhargram town to Lalgarh in the district.

Bose alleged Saturday that Koteshwar Rao alias Kishanjee, a senior Maoist leader from Andhra Pradesh, had set up a base in Lalgarh.

Trouble erupted in Lalgarh after the district police arrested some school students and allegedly heckled tribal women while probing the landmine blast.

The tribals dug up metalled roads and placed big tree trunks across them, virtually cutting off the trouble-prone zone from the rest of the district.

They also demanded a public apology from the police for the alleged excesses committed against them during the course of investigation into the landmine blast.