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Centre turns down WB govt plea to retain central forces in Maoist hit region

Centre turns down WB govt plea to retain central forces in Maoist hit region

Kolkata: The Ministry of Home Affairs has turned down a plea of Mamata Banerjee government to retain 35 companies of central forces posted in once Maoist-dominated Jangalmahal region in south Bengal, a senior state government official said Sunday.

The state government has then written to the ministry to reconsider the decision stating that the move might re-ignite Maoist problems in the region, he said.

The forested areas of West Midnapore, Jhargram, Bankura and Purulia districts in the southern part of the state forms Jangalmahal. The areas which share border with Jharkhand were once affected by Maoist insurgency.

"A second letter has been sent to the Home Ministry a couple of days ago requesting it to retain the forces in Jangalmahal. A special mention has been made in the letter that withdrawal of the forces may re-ignite the Maoist problem in the area which has borders with Jharkhand. We are waiting for a reply from the ministry," the IAS officer said.

The ministry, about a fortnight ago, had informed the state government of its decision to pull out the 35 companies of central forces and deploy them on election duty in other parts of West Bengal.

"We had written to the home ministry opposing the decision citing intelligence reports on the Maoists trying to regroup in the Jangalmahal area. We also have cited reports about visits of Maoist leaders from Jharkhand," he said.

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