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Tribal ‘torture’ in Mamata talks

Calcutta, Dec. 6: Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and the state Congress brass today met Manmohan Singh separately and told him about “police brutalities” on tribals in and around Lalgarh and the “prolonged neglect” the community faced.

Mamata said: “I told the Prime Minister how the police have been torturing the poor tribals of Lalgarh and Binpur since the landmine blast. I narrated the plight of innocent women who were dragged to police stations there. The Prime Minister was surprised to hear about the treatment meted out to the tribals by the state government.”

The tribals have laid siege to Lalgarh to protest the alleged police atrocities since Maoists targeted the chief minister at Salboni in November.

Mamata said she had asked Singh to “send a central team to Lalgarh and he assured me he would consider that’’.

Lalgarh also figured in the Prime Minister’s talks with his party men. Foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee and party working president Pradip Bhattacharya were among those present.

“We briefed him on the situation and the manner in which the tribal community is protesting against police brutalities. The Prime Minister wanted us to ensure justice for the backward community,” said Bhattacharya.

The Congress leaders also raised the agitation for Gorkhaland in Darjeeling. “The Prime Minister said tripartite meetings were being held and he was hopeful of a solution,” Bhattacharya said.

Mamata spoke to Singh about the thousands of students of primary teachers’ training institutes that had been shut down by the court.

The Prime Minister, she said, has promised to take it up with the human resource development minister.

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