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Rediff.com  » News » Bengal seeks 2 more battalions for anti-Naxal ops

Bengal seeks 2 more battalions for anti-Naxal ops

October 17, 2011 19:10 IST

West Bengal government is gearing up to launch full-fledged operations against Maoists and has sought 2,000 additional paramilitary personnel from the Centre.

The state government has requested the Union home ministry to urgently dispatch two battalions (around 2,000 personnel) of paramilitary personnel to be deployed in anti-Naxal operations.

Official sources said the communique came on the eve of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee setting a seven-day deadline for Maoists to lay down arms, saying violence would not be tolerated any more.

Interestingly, the home ministry had last fortnight asked West Bengal government to relieve one of the six battalions, sitting idle there, to be sent to Chhattisgarh to be deployed in Naxal-affected areas.

"We welcome the chief minister's announcement as it reflects the state government's understanding of the prevailing situation in three Naxal-affected districts -- West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura," an official said.

On Saturday, the chief minister had said she was giving Maoists a seven-day ultimatum to lay down guns.

Banerjee had said Maoists did not "pursue any ism, they have no ideals. They are 'supari' killers, jungle mafia. People hate violence. We initiated the peace process. We will continue the negotiations but you (the rebels) have to lay down arms".

Earlier, central government officials had expressed concern over reports of Naxals having a free run and regrouping in West Bengal after the change of government and opined that unless tough action against the extremists are taken, the situation may go out of hands.

Sources said there has been hardly any operation launched against Naxals in the past few months. Home Minister P Chidambaram had last month said there were reports that Maoists have directed their West Bengal unit to develop guerrilla bases in jangalmahal to intensify conflict.

"The Communist Party of India-Maoist has added at least four companies to the People's Liberation Guerrilla Army and its goal remains seizure of power through an armed liberation struggle," he had said.

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