Monday, November 29, 1999

`Army uniforms` worn by joint forces bought from market: Police

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Lalgarh (West Bengal), June 16 (IANS) In a shocking admission, police said that the army battle fatigues worn by the joint security forces during Wednesday's gunfight with Maoists in West Midnapore district were bought from the market. The uniforms had the words 'Indian Army' written on them.The security personnel wearing the fatigues had no links with the Indian Army, Anish Sarkar, deputy superintendent of police (Operations), West Midnapore said.'They have bought the army uniforms from the market. It was available in plenty in the market,' Sarkar told IANS.The joint forces personnel had donned the fatigues during a gun battle with Maoists at Duli village in Ranjha forest, about 20 km from here, in which eight guerrillas were killed.The fatigues had triggering confusion whether the army had been deployed to combat Maoists. And pro-Maoist villagers, intellectuals and tribal bodies immediately started protesting.Manoj Mahato, spokesperson of the pro-Maoist tribal body Peoples' Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), criticised the state and central governments for deploying the army without discussing the matter in the cabinet.The confusion was cleared only after Sarkar's clarification.

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