Poll panel team visits Bengal’s violence-hit areasBy IANS
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
KOLKATA - A high-level Election Commission team sent to assess poll-bound West Bengal’s law and order situation Tuesday visited violence-hit areas and Maoist-affected districts and spoke with officials and villagers.
The team members divided into three groups visited Birbhum, Burdwan, North 24 Parganas and three Maoist-affected districts - West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura.
The state’s ruling Left Front major, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), however, dubbed the observers’ visit as “unprecedented” and said it was keeping a close watch on them.
A group comprising Jharkhand Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) D.K. Pandey and Orissa Deputy Inspector General (Special Auxiliary Police) P.S. Ranpise visited Birbhum and Burdwan district.
According to a senior Birbhum district official, the two observers spent over an hour discussing the law and order situation with District Magistrate Soumitra Mohan and Superintendent of Police (SP) Humayun Kabir.
“They also sought all the previous crime records from the SP and then went to Nanoor, the most disturbed area of the district. They spoke with the locals in Basapara and Khujutipara villages,” said the official.
From Nanoor, the team rushed to Mangolkote in Burdwan district, which reported a series of political clashes in the last two years. The observers held a meeting with district officials there.
The other group led by Bihar’s Chief Electoral Officer Sudhir Kumar Rakesh and National Crime Record Bureau’s Deputy Director Zaki Ahmad went to North 24 Parganas.
They visited the politically disturbed areas of Aminpur in Sashan and Barashat.
At Aminpur police outpost, the observers met some villagers who complained about alleged CPI-M sponsored terrorism in their area in the presence of the North 24 Parganas Superintendent of Police Rahul Srivastav.
Another group comprising National Crime Record Bureau’s Joint Director P.R.K. Naidu and Andhra Pradesh’s Deputy Inspector General of Police (Intelligence Bureau) B. Shivadhar Reddy held a meeting with the West Midnapore police superintendent and district magistrate at the circuit house for few hours and then left for Purulia and Bankura districts.
Left Front Chairman Biman Bose said: “Elections have not yet been announced, let alone the issue of notification. It is unprecedented that even before all this, a team has been sent that comprises officials and police officers from outside the state.”
“We have not seen such things in the past. We are observing what they are doing. What they are saying is not important. We will wait and watch their activities.”
“Earlier, they said they will stay here for seven days. Now it i learnt that they may stay for more time,” he added.