A section of Indian Reserve Battalion jawans started an indefinite fast in different parts of the three Jangalmahal districts in West Bengal on Wednesday demanding immediate transfer orders from the region, where they claimed, to have remained posted for the last nine years. The jawans also alleged that they were not allowed to take leave by the authorities and were even denied promotion.

According to police sources, IRB jawans deployed at the Silda camp in Paschim Medinipur district were the first to start the indefinite fast and was soon supported by jawans deployed at several other camps and police stations in Paschim Medinipur as well as in Purulia and Bankura.Incidentally, the Maoists had massacred 24 Eastern Frontier Rifles jawans at the Silda camp on February 15 last year.

Sources said that the IRB jawans at Silda camp became agitated after 11 of them were show-caused by a senior police official, who found them missing from the camp during his visit there two days back.

An IRB jawan, who had covered his mouth with black cloth to withhold his identity, told reporters that a section of IRB jawans were denied both promotion and transfer for nine long years.

“We are not allowed to take leaves and are humiliated by senior officials when we ask for leave. Who wants to stay in this forest terrain for such a long period? Even our junior batches have got transferred in other districts. Our senior officials refuse to listen to our grievances and so we were forced to start the indefinite fast,” the jawan said.

The IRB jawans demanded the intervention of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who also holds the Home portfolio, in the matter.

Senior State police officials, however, refused to comment on the issue when contacted by The Hindu .

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