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Delhi pat for state on law and order

Calcutta, Sept. 13: The Union minister of state for home affairs, Jitendra Singh, today met chief minister Mamata Banerjee at Writers’ and praised her government for “bringing down the crime rate”.

His comments come at a time the state government has been facing criticism from the Congress and the Left for failing to check political violence and crimes against women.

“The overall crime rate has gone down in Bengal,” Singh said at a news conference after an hour-long meeting with the chief minister.

Singh lauded the government for containing Maoist violence. “The Bengal government and the central forces have done well to keep the Maoists under control. The operation against the Maoists is on.”

The junior minister, however, said intelligence gathering by police “needs to be strengthened”.

Asked about the contradictory statements on crimes made by the state Congress and the central minister from the party, Bengal unit chief Pradip Bhattacharya said: “We have been talking about increase in crimes against women (in Bengal) but we don’t know about the national statistics. He is a (central) minister, he will know. We have been saying that political violence has not abated even after the new government came to power.”

Singh said he spoke to Mamata about the need for land to set up border outposts in Bengal. The state government is yet to give its nod to land acquisition for the purpose. “I have asked the chief minister to provide land for the border outposts. We are trying to strengthen security to stop smuggling and infiltration,” Singh said.