Chidambaram invites Buddhadeb to discuss Maoist problem

Thursday, December 30, 2010

NEW DELHI/KOLKATA - Amid the standoff over the presence of armed cadres of Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in the Maoist-dominated areas of West Bengal, Home Minister P. Chidambaram Thursday invited Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to discuss the law and order situation and the Maoist problem.

“The home minister has sent two letters today in reply to the (chief minister’s) letter. Both letters have been faxed as well as sent by speed post,” the home ministry said in a statement.

“In the concluding part of the first letter, the home minister has invited the chief minister of West Bengal to New Delhi, at his earliest convenience, to discuss the subject and agree upon the way forward,” the ministry said.

Late in the afternoon, Bhattacharjee said he had replied to the latest missives from Chidambaram.

“I have given a reply,” he told media persons while leaving the secretariat.

However, he bypassed a questions seeking to know the contents.

“I stand by whatever I have told you,” he said.

Bhattacharjee in a letter to Chidambaram Wednesday said that his assessment of the law and order situation in the state was “far from an impartial overview”. He also questioned Chidambaram’s use of the word “harmad” for the CPI-M cadres, saying he appeared to have done so without realising the meaning of the “nasty” coinage by the Trinamool Congress.

Last week, the home minister had written to Bhattacharjee saying complaints received by the central government indicated that armed cadres of the CPI-M were deployed covertly under the guise of ‘village protection groups’ to guard against Maoist 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 firearms,” he had said.

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