Thursday, July 3, 2008

Mere ban won't check Maoists: Buddhadeb

Kolkata (PTI): Despite a spurt in Maoist activity, the West Bengal government is not contemplating a ban on the ultras and instead wants to tackle them politically, administratively and through adoption of various socio-economic measures.

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee told the state Assembly on Thursday that the government did not think that a mere ban would be able to check the Maoists. The menace could rather be tackled politically, administratively and by taking up measures for socioeconomic development.

Bhattacharjee, who holds the Home (police) department, told Leader of Opposition Partha Chatterjee that several states had suggested a ban on the Maoists during a recent meeting with the Prime Minister in Delhi, but the West Bengal government did not subscribe to such a view.

The state government, he said, would like to undertake socioeconomic development of the areas now considered Maoist-infested.

He referred to the resolution of the militancy problem at Naxalbari in the past through political and administrative means.

Accusing the Maoists of commiting murder, loot, terror and dacoity, the Chief Minister said the government had been keeping a strict vigil on the ultras and stepped up security in the Maoist-infested areas of Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore districts.

The Maoists have killed 12 policemen and injured 70 in the state ever since they became active. In the period between 2005 and 2008, 42 political leaders, mostly belonging to CPI M), lost their lives and 47 were injured at the hands of the Maoists, Bhattacharjee said.

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