Centre permits deployment of CRPF at Mamata's Lalgarh rally

Kolkata: The Centre has given permission to the West Bengal government to deploy the CRPF to provide security during the August 9 Trinamool Congress rally at Lalgarh in West Midnapore district.

The West Bengal government had sought the Centre's permission for deploying the CRPF during the rally and permission has been given, IGP (Law and Order) Surajit Kar Purkayastha told reporters here today.

Director, Security, A K Maliwal had visited Lalgarh yesterday to assess the situation there, he said.

Members of the Maoist-backed People's Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA) could participate as it was not a banned organisation, but those wanted by the police would be arrested if they turned up at the rally, he said.

The police would be deployed along with CRPF at the rally, but the number of policemen posted would be decided by the West Midnapore district administration and IGP (Western range) Zulfikar Hasan, he said.

Stating that there would be snap and random checks, he said that for security reasons the organisers would be asked to coordinate with the police to ensure that access to the dais was controlled.

Chief Secretary Ardhendu Sen said that Governor M K Narayanan had sought to know from the state government about the security arrangements.

"We will send a report to him," he said.

Banerjee who had on July 21 announced that the rally would be organised by her party, subsequently declared that it would be an apolitical programme to be convened under the banner of the 'Santras Birodhi Committee' (Anti-terror Committee).

PCPA as well as top Maoist leader Kishenji have extended support to the rally welcoming the Trinamool Congress chief's initiative to stop violence.

WBPCC president Manas Bhunia had said yesterday that there should not be any controversy over PCPA attending the rally since it was not a banned outfit.