New Delhi: In the wake of alleged involvement of armed party cadres in violence in West Bengal, Home Minister P Chidambaram on Monday said the government does not support any individual taking arms in his hands as enforcement of law and order is its own responsibility.
"Government of India does not encourage or support any non-state actor or non-state player enforcing law and order.
Enforcement of law and order is primarily and exclusively the function of the government," he said.
He was replying to a question by a reporter on why the government was allegedly adopting a double standard -- on the one hand it "supported" the Salwa Judum movement in Chhattisgarh where villagers were given arms to defend themselves from Maoists and on the other hand it opposed CPI(M) cadres taking arms in West Bengal.
Chidambaram said when the first time he was asked about the Salwa Judum after he took over as Home Minister, he made it clear in the Rajya Sabha that the Central government did not encourage or support any non-state actor or non-state player taking part in enforcing law and order.
"I said we don`t support any organisation -- I said it may be Salwa Judum, it may be any organisation, we don`t support any non-state actor or non-state players taking part in enforcing law and order," he said.
When informed that Special Police Officers were still active in Chhattisgarh, the Home Minister said SPOs were not non-state players and they are appointed by the state government with proper honorarium and duties.
"Please don`t mix up Salwa Judum and SPOs," he said.
Chidambaram said he hoped that West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee would do the needful to disarm the armed cadres and dismantle their camps.
On the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha`s demand to create a separate Gorkhaland state out of West Bengal, he said a meeting was held on January 25 to discuss their demand and the government was actively considering what steps should be taken next.