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Killings down in Maoist areas: Mamata

There was a significant improvement in law and order in the three Maoist-affected districts of West Bengal with the number of violent incidents and killings of civilians declining, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said Friday.

She said 235 Left wing extremists have been arrested while 20 of them surrendered to the police since the Trinamool Congress government came to power last year.

Presenting the budget for the home department, Banerjee asserted that there was a significant improvement in law and order in the Junglemahal - forested stretches of three western districts West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia where Maoists have a base.

She said police recovered 86 firearms, 1,491 pieces of ammunition, 386 kg of explosives and 39 improvised explosive devices [IEDs] from the affected areas.

The figures are based on the data available in the first ten months of the Trinamool regime which has been in office since 20 May last year.

'Number of violent incidents and killing of citizens and security forces have gone down drastically in these areas,' Banerjee said.

Later, replying to the discussion on the budget in the state assembly, she attacked the opposition Communist Party of India-Marxist [CPI-M] and accused it of colluding with the Maoists
Citing reports of CPI-M lawmaker Abdur Rezzak Mollah's bonhomie with some Left-wing extremist groups, Banerjee said: 'The honourable Rezzak Mollah has good connections with the Naxalites [Maoists]. Earlier, the CPI-M used to allege that we are hand in glove with the Maoists. Now the facts have come into the open. CPI-M's mask has been ripped open'.

Earlier, participating in the discussions, Mollah said Maoist politburo member Kishanji alias Koteshwar Rao was killed by the security forces last year as the chief minister wanted full control of Junglemahal.

However, he claimed though violent incidents have gone down, there was 'smouldering fire' and the government should not be complacent.
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