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HM, Buddha review anti-Maoist Ops.
Kolkata, Apr 3 (IANS):
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Published on 3 Apr. 2010 11:53 PM IST
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Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram Saturday held a meeting with West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to review the operations against Maoists in the state even as the rebels triggered a landmine blast in Lalgarh ahead of his visit.
The meeting lasted about 40 minutes and Chidambaram did not speak to waiting media persons when he left the state secretariat, the Writers’ Buildings.
Chidambaram is slated to visit Lalgarh in West Midnapore district, about 200 km west of the metropolis, Sunday morning to take stock of the situation on the ground in the Maoist-dominated district.
Joint security forces comprising the central paramilitary troopers and state armed police began an offensive last June to flush out the Left-wing extremists from the area.
The review comes seven weeks after Chidambaram finalised the blueprint of the inter-state Operation Greenhunt at a meeting with four Maoist-affected eastern states - West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Jharkhand.
A day ahead of Chidambaram’s visit, suspected Maoist guerrillas triggered a landmine blast in Lalgarh.
The blast in Bamal village, a few km from Lalgarh town, created a four-feet crater on the road.
“Raids are on in the area. They (the Maoists) may have triggered the blast,” West Bengal police chief Bhupinder Singh told IANS.
Television channels said three-four Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers were injured in the blast. Bhupinder Singh said he had no such information.
Meanwhile, the Maoist-backed People’s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA) has called a 24-hour shutdown in West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts Sunday in protest the home minister’s three and a half hours’ tour.
The PCAPA has also called an indefinite blockade in the three districts from Monday, claiming the security forces were torturing innocent villagers.
Maoists apologize for destroying schools
Maoist guerrillas have apologised to students in Bihar for damaging their school buildings and affecting their education.
“Hundreds of copies of the apology have been distributed among schoolchildren. We told them that we were sorry for targeting their schools. We also told them what forced us to target their schools,” a Maoist leader told IANS on condition of anonymity.
The letters, written in Hindi, were distributed by the rebels of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) on behalf of the Sone-Ganga-Vindhayanchal zonal committee in their strongholds.
“The damage to schools has affected students’ education. We regret the action as this created trouble for the children. We were forced to target the school buildings as they were being used by the central paramilitary forces to launch operations against us,” the Maoist leader said.
Also, in a reference to the ongoing Operation Green Hunt, the Maoists informed the children that the government plans to turn all schools into camps of security forces in the coming months.
“The central government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P. Chidambaram sold forests, land and mountains to foreign companies at the cost of depriving local people. Maoists are opposing it and will continue to oppose it,” the Maoists said in their letter.
Maoists claimed that they were fighting to save the country and were real nationalists. In December last year, hundreds of poor school children in Aurangabad district appealed to Maoists not to damage or target their schools.
“Maoist uncle, what is our mistake that you blow up schools and deprive us of education? You may have problems with the police but we fail to understand why are we your enemy. What is our mistake that our schools have become a soft target for you?” the school children wrote in their letter to the Maoists.
A police officer here admitted that after railways and mobile towers, schools in rural areas have become the soft target of Maoist guerrillas in Bihar. “Maoists have been targeting school buildings fearing that these buildings were used by central paramilitary forces.”
The rebels targeted five schools in Kaimur and Rohtas districts in the last one week.
According to police, more than 25 school buildings were blown up by the Maoists in different districts in the last one year.
At least 10 school buildings were blown up or badly damaged in Aurangabad, Gaya, Rohtas and Jehanabad districts which are the worst Maoist-affected districts.

 
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