| CRPF personnel in Nandigram
Nandigram, Nov. 18: The Bengal government today asked the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to shift all its five camps from the trouble-prone areas to pockets in the outskirts that have remained CPM strongholds throughout the past 10 months.
The CRPF was not happy, especially because its demand for a camp at Takapura was turned down.
“The proposal was shot down. We don’t know why,” an officer said.
CRPF deputy inspector-general Alok Raj said: “We have no idea about how the five new sites were chosen and the intelligence feed that led to the choice. Our prime concern remains the affected people, but we are not sure how far we will be useful to them.”
The decision to relocate the camps came hours after director-general of police A.B. Vohra met senior officers of the district police and the central force at Nandigram police station this morning.
The CRPF has been asked to move from Nandigram College to Tengua, Rajaramchowk to Jellingham, Khodambari to Khejuri and Teropokhia and from Gokulnagar to Pankhai.
In most of these areas, the CRPF has been asked to pitch tents as there are no proper houses where the jawans and the officers can stay.
A CRPF officer said it would take them at least two days to settle down and get a feel of the place before starting patrolling.
The delay will “slow down the confidence-building process”, he added.
Today’s decision has left the Bhoomi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee stumped. Many of its leaders alleged that the move was aimed at helping CPM supporters move around in the “recaptured” areas and terrorise people.
The meeting at the police station tried to work out ways for the return of the refugees from relief camps.
Abu Taher, a Pratirodh Committee convener, said: “Forget women, even men can’t think of returning to Satengabari, Ranichowk, Kamalpur, Tekhali or Akhandabari. We have been asking for CRPF camps repeatedly at these places and our plea was not taken into consideration even at today’s meeting. Why' Don’t you see the reason'”
The police top brass refused to see “politics” in the relocation of CRPF camps.
Their words had few takers in the relief camps for those rendered homeless by the CPM”s armed offensive.