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Jun 17, 2009 at 09:10am IST

Maoists drive away cops from Bengal's Lalgarh

Kolkata: Maoists have taken control of Lalgarh in West Bengal barely 100 km from Kolkata. Over 50,000 tribals rallied behind the Maoists sporting automatic weapons, torching all Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) establishments in the area and attacking their leaders.

A decomposed body, presumably of a CPI-M supporter, has been lying unattended in the open for the past five days.

The victim was gunned down by suspected Maoist guerrillas during clashes between the two groups over territorial control over the erstwhile CPI-M stronghold of Dharampur in West Midnapore's Lalgarh.

Owing to a complete withdrawal of police and administration, the area is now a liberated zone for the Maoists, who mark their presence with automatic weapons.

No one has dared to cremate the corpse which is just one of many unclaimed bodies lying scattered in the region.

"The bodies have been lying in this manner From Friday. Their family members had come but couldn't take them away because of the clashes. We are not touching them," says Gadadhar Tudu, a villager at Dharampur.

Section 144 has been imposed in Lalgarh to prevent public gatherings since violence erupted in the area last week.

But in a clear act of defiance of state power a rally was held by over 50,000 tribals supported by the Maoists-backed People's Committee Against Police Atrocities

The loss of faith in state administration happened long ago. The tribals of Lalgarh and its adjacent areas now plan to establish a region free of police and other state machineries and allowing that to happen will mean complete surrender for the state government in the hands of the ultra left forces.

The CPI-M has been routed in the area, its party offices torched and razed to dust and their leaders' mansions ransacked.

The plan is now to evict the police from the remaining police stations of the region and ensure that anarchy in Lalgarh prevails.

The state may not be welcome in Lalgarh, but the government is not giving up. More troops are being sent in to reclaim lost ground.

""State govt already has seven compaines of armed forces. Have asked for five more from the centre. One company reaching tonight (Wednesday night). Rest four will come in phases. Have also asked for Cobra & Greyhound forces."
— Chief Secretary, West Bengal Amit Kiran Deb

(With inputs from Sukarno Sen)