The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rebels on top in Buddha speech

Calcutta, Dec. 8: Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today said his government is getting ready to tackle the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation and the People’s War.

The announcement at a rally in Howrah’s Dumurjola comes in the wake of reports of heightened militant activities from West Midnapore, Bankura, Purulia and some north Bengal districts.

“The rebels are posing a threat to the lives of innocent people in the districts and a political campaign is necessary to isolate them from the masses,” Bhattacharjee said at the rally organised by the CPM’s Howrah district committee. “Besides, they would be tackled administratively.” The chief minister added that ISI-backed rebels have links with the United Liberation Front of Asom.

“We have definite information that Naxalbari in north Bengal, once the Naxalites’ stronghold, has now been taken over by People’s War activists. Stern measures have to be taken to weed them out,” Bhattacharjee told the rally.

CPM state secretary and politburo member Anil Biswas said the rebels are mingling with poor peasants and people in the villages to “misguide them”.

“We have to be careful so that they don’t take us for a ride,” said Biswas. Earlier, he urged the government to undertake development programmes in the extremist-infested districts.

Biswas’ plea assumes significance in the wake of the move to gear up the party machinery for the panchayat polls scheduled for early next year.

Party functionaries in the rebel-infested districts have already sent reports about the steady infiltration of the People’s War in Marxist strongholds.

On industrialisation, Bhattacharjee said the investment mood has changed with entrepreneurs from across the country and abroad showing interest in Bengal. Sophisticated industries are setting up base here, he said.

A team from Mitsubishi would meet him on December 20 with the objective of setting up a plant, Bhattacharjee said.

The industrial complex at Uluberia, he added, will be expanded to accommodate more units. Land will be acquired near the Kona Expressway to build another complex.

The state has improved much in agriculture and the focus is now on the agro-based industries, the chief minister said.

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