Govt yields to Mamata pressure, rebukes Bengal CM



Govt yields to Mamata pressure, rebukes Bengal CM New Delhi: In the wake of ally Trinamool Congress alleging misuse of central security forces in West Bengal, Home Minister P Chidambaram has asked what was the role the forces if armed cadres continue to take on themselves the duty of maintaining law and order.

In a letter to West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Chidambaram asked the state government to ensure the armed cadres are "immediately disarmed and demobilised".

"If these armed cadres continue to take upon themselves the duties of maintaining law and order, I wonder what is the role of security forces, specially central para military forces which have been deployed at the request of the state government"? he said.

The Home Minister also said it was "a matter of grave concern" that these cadres have been provided with arms.

Chidambaram said the "violence presented an alarming picture, which was completely unacceptable in a democratic system."

The Home Minister's letter came a day after a Trinamool Congress delegation had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and conveyed to him alleged misuse of central security forces in West Bengal.

Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee had a couple of days ago threatened to quit as Railway Minister if she was not unable to prove the charge of misuse of central security forces.

The letter in the backdrop of violent clashes between cadres of CPI-M and Trinamool Congress in various parts of West Bengal.

Recently, a clash between rival students' groups at a college in Howrah district claimed the life of a youth who belonged to SFI, CPI(M)'s student front.

South Begnal districts like Burdwan, Hooghly, Howrah, South 24-Paragnas and West Midnapore have been witnessing clashes between the two political parties.

The Home Minister reminded the Chief Minister about a meeting they had some time back where they discussed about the 'Harmad Vahini' that is active in West Bengal and that has given rise to apprehension and complaints.

"Complaints and references received by us indicate that armed cadres of the CPI(M) were deployed in a covert manner under the guise of 'village protection groups' to guard against Naxal attacks," he said.

Chidambaram said a sizeable number of armed cadres were recruited, trained and deployed in West Midnapore.

"There is evidence to show that Harmad camps are mostly located in CPI(M) party offices and thoses of local (CPI(M) cadres. It is a matter of grave concern that these cadres have been provided with fire arms," he said.

PTI