Indian security forces trying to retake several villages from Maoist
rebels in West Bengal state say they are meeting little resistance.
Police had been using rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse villagers who had been backing the rebels and had to cross a heavily mined forest to get to the settlements. But security personnel say they moved into Lalgarh easily Saturday and promised to intensify their efforts.
Police Director General Praveen Kumar warns more must be done to reestablish "the rule of law."
The chief Minister of West Bengal state Buddhadeb Bhattacharjeemet with Indian Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram Saturday, and told reporters he is now thinking about banning all Maoists.
The Maoist rebels are part of a wider group of insurgents known as Naxalites who say they fight for the rights of the poor.
Indian authorities accuse the Maoists of killing at least five members of the region's ruling communist party (Communist Party of India-Marxist) earlier this week.
Chidambaram on Friday warned that efforts to regain control of the villages would "take some time," and he urged the Maoists to talk with the government instead of fighting.
Many farmers in West Bengal have been angered by plans to build large industrial plants in rural areas.
The Naxalites are active in at least 13 of India's 29 states. Their decades-long insurgency has left thousands dead.
Our Kolkata stringer sends a report on the latest campaign at Lalgarh.
Besides another stringer from Kolkata informs us that Delhi has demanded that the Maoists be banned in Bengal as other Maoist-affected states have done. On the other hand, Bengal`s main opposition party, TMC has condemned individual killing policy of Maoists and has denied all connection with them. His report also follows.