Buddhadeb hits back at ‘far from impartial’ Chidambaram

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

KOLKATA - West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has strongly objected to union Home Minister P. Chidamabaram’s use of a “nasty” word to describe Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) workers and attacked the Trinamool Congress for organising meetings with Maoist outfits.

The chief minister also admitted that the situation in the state was not a happy one due to senseless violence.

“I strongly object to your using the word ‘harmad’ (hired killers) to mean the CPI-M party workers without knowing the meaning of the nasty word coined by Trinamool Congress leaders,” the chief minister said in a hard-hitting one-page reply to Chidambaram’s letter that alleged that the state’s ruling Marxists had set up armed camps in Maoist-prone areas.

The chief minister described the union minister’s assessment of the situation in the state as “surprising” and “far from impartial” in the one-page letter faxed to Chidambaram Tuesday. The document was released to the media here Wednesday.

Bhattacharjee also differed with the party-wise figures of political clash victims given by Chidambaram and gave what he called the “correct” figures, besides accusing the Trinamool Congress of openly organising meetings with “Maoist leaders and outfits”.

“As regards political clashes mentioned in your letter, I would like to correct your figures. Thirty-two Trinamool Congress supporters have been killed and 610 have suffered injuries, while the CPI-M has lost 69 cadres and another 723 have been injured,” said the chief minister.

He said the Congress has lost one supporter and 111 sympathisers of the party have been injured since the last Lok Sabha polls.

Responding to Chidambaram’s complaints that “armed cadres of the CPI-M were deployed in a covert manner under the guise of ‘village protection groups’ to guard against Naxal (Maoist) attacks”, the chief minister said: “Your assessment of the situation in the state of West Bengal is surprising and is far from an impartial overview of the situation.”

He said due to the joint efforts of the central troopers and state police, peace and harmony have returned to many areas where the Maoists had earlier created havoc.

Bhattacharjee claimed that the CPI-M and its allies were resisting the Maoist guerrillas by mobilising people “and in the process they have lost more than 170 of their workers and leaders”.

“Unfortunately, you are not praising them for the present state of affairs. I am afraid, it will divert the attention of all concerned who are struggling against the Maoists, the greatest threat to our internal security.”

“People who were evicted earlier are going back to their homes,” he said.

Coming down heavily on the Trinamool, he said while it was “earlier maintaining secret contacts with the Maoist leaders and the outfits”, now it was “openly organising meetings with them”.

“I, however, agree that it is not a happy situation and I am trying my best to stop these senseless killings,” Bhattacharjee said and pointed out that he has repeatedly appealed to all opposition parties to cooperate.

“All the parties, except the Trinamool Congress, have come forward to cooperate. And the Trinamool Congress has refused to talk to the administration,” he added.

Chidambaram’s letter had triggered a controversy with the state government and left parties seeking an explanation from him for the contents being allegedly leaked to the media before Bhattacharjee received the missive.

On Monday, an angry chief minister had accused Chidambaram of sending the letter to appease the Trinamool, a partner in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the centre.

“I will give a befitting reply,” Bhattacharjee had said.

Filed under: Terrorism

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