Saturday, December 15, 2007

West Bengal: Special force to combat Maoists

KOLKATA: Kolkata Police is planning to set up a specialised force to combat the increasing influence of Maoists in the city. They are looking for young and energetic officers with a good academic background for the purpose.

The decision to raise the force was taken after analysing the recent incidents involving Maoists. It would be under the supervision of DC (special branch). The first duty of this core group will be to identify the activists who had pasted the posters on Writers' Buildings walls. But it would be difficult to take legal action against them as pasting posters is not an offence and neither is CPI (Maoist) banned in the state.

Till the new force is in place, the police top brass is trying to bring about an improvement in the existing structure of the force. To begin with, there will be a reshuffle in the special branch (SB). Police are concerned with the Maoist posters on the walls of the state secretariat. While other wings of the city police are blaming SB for failing to provide information on Maoist plans, the latter pointed at the existing set-up for the failure.

SB officers have pointed out several problems as reasons for their failure. All the officers have to perform law and order duties on a regular basis and since they are in uniform, they are easily identifiable.

The officers further stated that the students' cell at the special branch was inactive now, but an important wing to combat the Maoists is active in student organisations. Earlier, too, due to failure of the students' wing, police had no information about the activities of ultra-Left students' organisations before one of them ransacked a Tata Motors' showroom on AJC Bose Road.

A few senior officers admitted that the SB had failed to inform them about the movement of Maoists in the city. Senior officers on Saturday discussed how to combat increasing Maoist influence in the city.

SB officers reportedly informed their seniors that Maoists have been active behind several frontal organisations at Beliaghata, Narkeldanga, Manicktala and Tollygunge.

A K Maliwal, director of the Special Security Unit, chaired a meeting at Lalbazar on Saturday. Officers from various police stations, special branch and other senior officers were present there.


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