Midnapore (WB): Piling pressure on the
Centre, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday
threatened to take to the streets from tomorrow to press for
immediate withdrawal of joint forces from Maoist-hit areas
in West Bengal.
Alleging that the joint forces were committing atrocities
on innocent people and Trinamool Congress workers in the name
of fighting Maoists, Banerjee said she was demanding their
immediate withdrawal. "Our party MPs will launch a dharna
outside Parliament House in support of the demand.
"I will take to the streets from tomorrow and give a call
to the joint forces to quit Bengal," Banerjee told a rally at
the college ground here where Chief Minister Buddhadeb
Bhattacharjee had held a similar one last week.
"It has become a joint venture between the joint forces
and West Bengal government in the name of joint operations
against Maoists", she said.
Describing CPI(M) as `politically bankrupt`, she listed
its alleged atrocities on political adversaries particularly
Trinamool Congress, and claimed no development worth the name
had taken place in the state in the last 33 years.
Cocking a snook at the chief minister`s rally, she said
"I would like the CPI(M) to come and see the turnout at my
Expressing apprehension that the police were `plotting
indiscriminate arrest` of Trinamool Congress workers in
Jungalmahal, Banerjee alleged the West Midnapore
Superintendent of Police was helping CPI(M) armed cadre in
unleashing terror in villages.
"But we will not bow our head to any pressure," she said.
Referring to the chief minister`s statement at his rally
that it remains to be seen who saves Trinamool Congress,
Banerjee alleged it amounted to `threat` to her life. "It is
"To say that he will see who saves whom is nothing short
of holding out threat to my life. This is a criminal case,"
Banerjee alleged and said she did not care about her life and
does not live at the chief minister`s mercy.
She wondered what the Centre would have thought "if
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had said it."
Slamming the chief minister, she said "I believe in
political battle, not in the gunbattle.
"We are ready to give a fitting reply to your politics
of violence and terror. My purpose is to establish peace in
Junglemahal, which you could not. Your government was unable
to provide food to the villagers of Jungalmahal who received
"Yours is a government of harmards (armed CPI-M
cadre), for the harmards and by the harmards."
Banerjee said just as Trinamool Congress had forced
CPI(M) to retreat from Singur and Nandigram, the areas of
control of the Marxist party, including Lalgarh, would be
"But our method will be totally democratic to drive
CPI(M) out of power in the next assembly elections," the
Trinamool chief said.
Banerjee appealed to the people of Midnapore to resist
and drive out the armed Marxist cadre to establish peace in
"Trinamool Congress is a party which will fight to the
last drop of blood to save West Bengal from CPI(M) oppression.
I will not bow to CPI(M), come what may."
Pointing to repeated electoral debacles of the Left
party, she said "it is my firm conviction that our victory
will start from the soil of Midnapore. Those still dreaming of
capturing power by force in Junglemahal are only fools."
Centre unlikely to heed TC demand to withdraw forces
The Centre is unlikely to withdraw
the joint forces from the Maoist-dominated Lalgarh area in
West Bengal as demanded by the Trinamool Congress and
operations against the Naxals will continuing.
The second largest constituent of UPA has been demanding
that the joint forces should be withdrawn as the ruling Left
Front cadres and forces were "committing atrocities" in the
name of tackling Maoists, but the Central government was
considering it as a "political statement" ahead of elections.
"Right now we have no plans to withdraw the forces. They
are doing their jobs and the anti-Naxal operations will
continue," an official said.
The issue was said to have figured in the meetings Chief
Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had with Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P Chidambaram in last two
days in the national capital.
The Chief Minister has been strongly backing the joint
operations launched by the Central and state forces in
Maoist-dominated areas of West Bengal.
TC chief and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee has been
alleging that tribals were being subjected to atrocities by
Marxist cadres and joint forces in the name of tackling
Maoists, while the CPI(M) was "occupying" fresh areas.
"The CPI-M is using this joint forces operation as a
shield and building armed camps over there. Our party
delegation led by opposition leader Partho Chaterjee had met
the President and told her about the situation in Lalgarh,"
she had said recently.
However, the Left Front also hit back claiming that
Trinamool`s repeated demand to pull out joint forces from
Lalgarh and Jangamahal areas was a trick to facilitate Maoist
control in these areas in West Midnapore district.
The operation by the joint forces comprising West Bengal
Police and the Central paramilitary forces started in Lalgarh
in June 2009 to flush out the Maoist from that area.
The three western districts of the state - Purulia,
Bankura and West Midnapore - are Maoist dominated.