Central forces should stay in West Bengal: Buddhadeb


New Delhi : West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee Monday said central paramilitary forces needed to stay longer in the state to end Maoist violence.

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After a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here, the chief minister said it was “difficult” to protect the area bordering Jharkhand, from where the Maoist cadres operate.

He also called for simultaneous operations against the Leftist radicals in Jharkhand.

Asked whether he has requested for increase in forces in the state during his breakfast meeting with Home Minister P. Chidambaram Sunday, Bhattacharjee said: “We have 17 companies of CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) in the state. The central forces should continue to stay and continue to operate in the state. We need more time (to tackle the Maoist menace).

“I am happy to inform you that the home minister has agreed to my proposal,” he told reporters.

He said a coordinated operation of both central and state forces is needed to deal with the Maoists.

He condemned a statement by Railway Minister Mamatha Banerjee, who said last week that the state “will burn” if intellectuals associated with the Maoists are “touched”.

“It is unfortunate. A central minister should not speak in this language,” Bhattacharjee said.

He called rebel leader Kishanji, who is in charge of the Maoist operations in West Bengal, “a liar” and “a murderer”.

“He is not only a murderer. He is a liar,” Bhattacharjee said, rejecting Kishnaji’s claim that he held telephonic conversations with the chief minister.

The chief minister reiterated that the state government is not willing to hold talks with the Maoists unless they abjure violence.