November 11, 2008

West Bengal seeks more Central forces from Home Ministry

New Delhi (PTI),11th Nov: West Bengal on Tuesday sought additional para-military forces from the Union Home Ministry to tackle the Maoist problem in the state.

The demand was made at a meeting of State Chief Secretary Amit Kiran Deb with Union Home Secretary Mahdukar Gupta here on Tuesday.Deb later told reporters that he asked for more security personnel for the state, but declined to specify the quantum of the requirement.

The meeting came in the backdrop of the Home Ministry asking for a detailed report from the State Government on the landmine attack on Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan in Maoist-infested Midnapore district on November two. The powerful landmine blast triggered by suspected Maoists had damaged the security vehicle of Paswan and injured six policemen.

The Home Ministry has already said that there were "callousness" and "lapse" as the security drill was not ensured by West Bengal Police ahead of the visit of the two dignitaries to Midnapore.

Sources in the Home Ministry said the police did not carry out the basic road opening exercise, a mandatory security drill, ahead of the VIP arrival or departure from the foundation-laying ceremony of a steel project.

The remote-controlled mine was exploded at Salboni shortly after Bhattacharjee had passed through that area and Paswan was approaching the point in Jhargram district, adjacent to Midnapore.

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