Mamata transfers 300 IRB personnel

Kolkata: Hours before West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee`s scheduled visit to Maoist-hit Jangalmahal, authorities today cracked down on indiscipline in the ranks of the the Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) shunting 300 personnel from their camps in the area.

A senior official of State Armed Police told PTI that 300 personnel of the first battalion of the IRB, who had participated in the agitational programme 25 days ago in their camps in Jangalmahal on September 21, had been transferred to Barrackpore State Armed Police barrack. Seven IRB personnel, engaged in anti-Maoist operations in the state, were suspended for the agitation against posting in risky areas and alleged apathy by the authorities yesterday.

"We have suspended seven personnel for indiscipline and action might be taken against some more," a senior police officer said. Asked whether the issues raised by the personnel would be addressed, the officer said, "I cannot comment on this right now."

On September 21, IRB personnel, engaged in anti-Maoist operations in Junglemahal, launched an indefinite fast in their camps to protest prolonged posting in risky areas and alleged apathy by authorities at Silda, Salboni, Garbeta in West Midnapore district, Durgapur in Burdwan district, Suri in Birbhum district and Sarenga and Majgeria in Bankura district. It was called off two days later following intervention by the then DG (Armed Police) Goutam Mohan Chakraborty with the assurance that their grievances would be looked into by the authorities.