Curb political violence, Chidambaram tells Buddhadeb (Second Lead)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

NEW DELHI - In a firm message on stopping political violence in West Bengal, Home Minister P. Chidambaram Wednesday asked Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to take action against the armed cadres of political parties who could not be allowed to take the law into their hands.

Bhattacharjee met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram here to discuss the political violence in his state, and accused the opposition Trinamool Congress, an ally of the union government, of “openly” working with Maoist guerrillas.

Chidambaram told Bhattacharjee during their 45-minute meeting at his North Block office that law and order was the responsibility of security forces and not of political parties.

“Maintenance of law and order is the responsibility of the security forces and armed cadres of any political party cannot be allowed to play any part in the discharge of this responsibility,” the home minister said.

Chidambaram, according to home ministry officials, shared with the chief minister information and intelligence available with the central government on the political violence in the poll-bound state that has caused worry to the Election Commission. Elections to the state assembly are due later this year.

The Wednesday meeting follows a “letter war” between the two over the issue.

“He also drew attention to the grave incident in Netai village. The home minister requested the chief minister to take action against the armed cadres,” an official privy to the meeting told IANS.

Netai village in West Bengal recently witnessed cold-blooded killings when on Jan 7 nine people were shot dead and at least 17 injured in firing allegedly triggered by people sheltered in an armed camp run by the state’s ruling Left Front major Communist party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).

Bhattacharjee assured the home minister that the state government understood the seriousness of the problem and would take appropriate action to disarm all armed groups in the state.

He asked Chidambaram to tell the CPI-M’s arch rival Trinamool Congress “in no uncertain terms” that they must end their alleged links with the Maoists.

Later speaking to reporters, Bhattacharjee said: “I agreed with the home minister that the recent incident in Netai village was very unfortunate. We will ensure that such incidents do not recur.”

“I told the home minister that he should tell them (Trinamool Congress) in no uncertain terms that they must dissociate from the Maoists,” he added.

“Earlier, they were secretively meeting and contacting them, now they are doing it openly. We confirmed it from many sources, from the Maoists leaders that we have arrested.”

“There have been instances where Trinamool workers have taken Maoists injured in blasts to hospitals. They carry them from one place to another. This is a serious problem. In the last one month, they have organised two public meetings jointly,” he added.

He said the Maoist problem has come again, but this time it is not from Naxalbari in West Bengal but from states like Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Jharkhand.

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