NATIONAL

Bengal warned over smuggling of explosives

KOLKATA OCT. 13. The smuggling into West Bengal of sophisticated explosives, including landmines, from faraway States such as Andhra Pradesh has confirmed fears that extremist groups operating in other parts of the country are working in league with militant outfits active in the State. The State Government has conveyed its concerns to the Centre and is in touch with the authorities in the States concerned.

The use of a landmine by naxalites in Purulia district in the south west region of the State on Saturday last which claimed the life of a police officer has come as a stark reminder to the authorities that such inter-State transhipment of explosives and arms calls for more intensive combing operations along West Bengal's border with other States, according to a senior State Home Department official.

According to the State police, People's War activists operating in Andhra Pradesh have established links with naxalite militants active in some West Bengal districts bordering Orissa and Jharkhand. Any supplies from Andhra Pradesh will have to be routed through these States. The State Government has taken up the issue with the other Governments.

West Bengal will reiterate the need for greater coordination among the States to prevent such activity at the next meeting to be convened by the Union Home Ministry. These meetings are held periodically where a common plan of action for the States to combat the naxalite menace is reviewed and the information received from the various State intelligence and Central agencies updated.

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