Stop political violence, Chidambaram to Buddhadeb

Friday, December 24, 2010

NEW DELHI - Home Minister P. Chidambaram Friday asked West Bengal to curb the “alarming” political violence in the state, days after Trinamool Congress chief and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee threatened to resign from the government alleging that central security forces were being misused in the Communist-ruled state.

Chidambaram, in a letter to Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, said it was “a matter of grave concern” that political cadres have been given arms in the state.

“The violence presented an alarming picture, which was completely unacceptable in a democratic system,” the home minister wrote.

He said if these cadres “continue to take upon themselves the duties of maintaining law and order, I wonder what is the role of security forces, specially central paramilitary forces which have been deployed at the request of the state government”.

Trinamool leader Mamata Banerjee had earlier this week said she was ready to quit if she couldn’t prove that the CPI-M was misusing central security forces brought for anti-Maoist operations.

“The CPI-M is misusing central forces. If I cannot prove that the central forces are being misused, I am ready to quit,” the Trinamool Congress chief said in a TV interview.

The letter was written a day after a Trinamool Congress delegation met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to convey their concern over alleged misuse of security forces in West Bengal.

Violent clashes between cadres of ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and Trinamool Congress have occurred recently in various parts of the state.

“Complaints and references received by us indicate that armed cadres of the CPI-M were deployed in a covert manner under the guise of ‘village protection groups’ to guard against Naxal attacks.

“There is evidence to show that the camps are mostly located in CPI-M offices and those of local cadres. It is a matter of grave concern that these cadres have been provided with fire arms.”

He said the figures of casualties in the political violence “present an alarming picture and point to a virtual collapse of law and order in parts of West Bengal”.

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