Note from Ka Frank:
The Indian state is mobilizing its forces to crush the just struggle of the tribal people of Lalgarh, West Bengal. In the last 24 hours, West Bengal's state police and 11 companies of Central paramilitary forces have started to move towards Lalgarh.
In November 2008, the tribal people (adivasis) of Lalgarh rose up against decades of abuse by the police and goons of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the ruling party in West Bengal. This is the same phoney "communist" party that has tried to give away peasants' lands in Nandigram and Singur, only to be beaten back and exposed by determined struggle.
In recent years, thousands of adivasis in the Lalgarh area have been imprisoned on false charges of having ties with the Maoist insurgency. They formed the People's Committee against Police Atrocities, which has extended its influence to 1,100 villages in the region. Led by the People's Committee, the adivasis have driven the police and CPM cadre out of the area, burning down police camps and digging up roads to prevent the state authorities from re-entering. Activists of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) have played a leading role in the People's Committee and in extending the struggle into new areas.
This is a critical battle for the Indian people and for people around the world. Our voices must be raised against the preparations of the West Bengal state and the central government to drown the struggle in blood.
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The following are from the Times of India:
Security forces begin ops to free Lalgarh from Maoists
18 Jun 2009 — Security forces have moved into the restive Lalgarh region to end the three-day siege of Maoists, who have gone on a rampage targeting CPI(M) cadres and leaders, destroying their homes and party offices and setting up barricades to block police entry.
Fifty villages in and around Lalgarh in West Midnapore district have been captured and declared a `free zone' by Maoists.
Setting up their base camps around Lalgarh, central forces along with state police began closing in on Lalgarh early on Thursday morning. Four to five base camps at strategic locations have been set up with the objective not to concede any more areas to the Maoists. Maoists have formed a three-tier human shield with women and children in the vanguard, men behind them and armed naxals forming the rearguard, according to a senior police officer. Sources say the forces want to minimize casualties and will thus move slowly.
"Operation at Lalgarh has started this morning. The operation will be mainly done by the state police but we will be adequately assisted by the Central forces," West Bengal DGP Sujit Kumar Sarkar said.
Asked about the number of forces deployed, Sarkar said the details "cannot be divulged right now".
"But there are adequate (state) forces to restore peace and normalcy in the area. The CRPF will give adequate back up and if needed, they will actively participate, " he said over phone from Kolkata.
Agitating tribals of West Midnapore and adjoining areas have been protesting police "atrocities" on them in the wake of the landmine blast at Salboni which was believed to target the Chief Minister.
The tribals, numbering 2000 under the banner of People's Committee Against Police Atrocities, dug up roads amid reports that they were laying landmines to stop the security forces.
"We will try to shed minimum blood," Sarkar said adding I cannot tell you the exact timeframe (of the operation)."
Five hundred CRPF personnel, including 200 personnel of the elite COBRA trained in anti-Maoist operations, have been deployed to deal with the situation.
Conceding to pressure from the Centre, the state government had ordered the police to lead the operation with assistance from the central forces.