Pranab seeks written reply from Mamata on Lalgrah speech

Mamata Banerjee has been asked to explain her alleged pro-Maoist speech in Lalgarh in West Bengal where she questioned the killing of `Azad`.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Taking on Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee for her purportedly pro-Maoist speech in Lalgarh in West Bengal, Pranab Mukherjee on Friday sought a written reply, asking her to explain her stand.

The Railway Minister has been asked to explain in detail what she said there and why. Mamata had called top ranking Maoist leader Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad’s encounter killing as “murder”.

Clearly, the latest move from the government confirms its discomfort with the stand taken by a member of the union cabinet that is evidently not in consonance with the official view - Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has on a number of occasions termed Naxalism as the greatest threat to the country.

Even Home Minister P Chidambaram, who has been spearheading the state’s response to the problem has appeared uncomfortable over the situation where he is asked questions about his cabinet colleague’s alleged hobnobbing with the Maoists.

On Wednesday, BJP member Ramdas Agarwal asked during Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha, “Whether is it right to give publicity to Maoists or their ideology, as recently done by a cabinet minister.”

Though his party colleagues welcomed the poser,
Chidambaram said, "The question has been framed in a general manner, therefore I would generally like to say that no one should support Maoists and the government will not encourage anybody who does so."

However, the Home Minister later rejected the demand by Mamata for an inquiry into the encounter killing of Maoist leader `Azad`.

"Please tell me under which law the Centre should initiate
inquiry into the encounter killing of Maoist leader `Azad`, I
am asking my non-lawyer friend Yashwant Sinha," Chidambaram said replying to a discussion in Lok Sabha on Bhopal gas

The minister said, "Maintaining law and order in the state
is the responsibility of the respective state government. If
you want an inquiry, you go to state Assembly and ask for
passing a resolution for that."

"If you want any resources under my command for an inquiry
into the case, I am ready to provide," he said.

The minister chose to speak on the issue when Sinha
intervened and said, "Your minister (Mamata Banerjee) has
demanded an inquiry into the case."

Azad, who was a member of the CPI(Maoists) politburo and
spokesperson for the insurgents, was killed by police in an
encounter in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh on July two.

During a rally in Lalgarh on Monday, Railway Minister
Mamata Banerjee had termed as "not correct" the killing of Cherukuri Rajkumar who, she claimed,
had agreed to hold talks with the government on behalf of the

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