Thursday, June 18, 2009

Why blame Oppn, just ban Naxals: Cong to Bengal Govt

Kolkata | New Delhi: Congress leaders in West Bengal on Wednesday termed as “gossip” Left Front’s allegation that the entry of Maoists into Lalgarh was facilitated by the TMC-Congress combine, and said the situation in the area was due to the state Government’s failure to ban parties like the People’s War Group and the CPI(Maoist).

“Why haven’t these groups been banned? They are banned in other states. Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said these parties would be dealt with politically. Apparently, nothing has come of it as the situation now is far worse than before,” Congress Legislative Party leader Manas Bhuniya said.

Reiterating the Centre’s stand that law and order is a state subject and state forces should be deployed ahead of Central Paramilitary Forces, Bhuniya said the West Bengal Police shouldn’t be seen backing off with Central forces going in their place. The Union Home Ministry has agreed to deploy 1,300 central paramilitary troops in the area, but has made it clear that the state should deploy forces available with it like the State Armed Police, Specially Trained Armed Company (STRACO) and East Frontier Rifles.

“This shows the ineffectiveness of the state government. The CM has failed. The Centre is right in attaching a rider while sending CRPF to Lalgarh. Law and order is a state subject and the state must answer for this situation,” Bhuniya said.

“The Congress will never support the Maoists or any armed struggle. Our approach has always been democratic. In this situation, we are calling for peace to be restored at the earliest. What can we say? The Left Front is in power. Let the CM speak up. We haven’t been kept in the loop regarding Lalgarh developments by the state Government,” the MLA added.

Congress leaders said the present situation is also due to three decades of gross negligence by the administration and atrocities committed by the CPI(M) cadres in tribal areas of districts like West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura. “The Maoists have just taken advantage of this situation. Needs like public health and drinking water have not been addressed. The tribals are victims of callousness shown by the Left Front Government. This situation has arisen due to the Left’s sins,” Bhuniya added.

In New Delhi, Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari said the Left Front Government should step down if it was unable to run the affairs of the state in accordance with the Constitution. “The situation in West Bengal is a result of continuous subversion of democracy. Whatever mayhem is result of the Left’s misgovernance.” Earlier in the day, Home Minister P Chidambaram had charged the state government of failing to act in a timely manner.

Thought Tiwari clarified that there was no suggestion towards use of Article 356 or 355 but the attack against the Left ruled state was clearly indicative of a breakdown of the Constitutional machinery. “We are not making any suggestion for use of Article 355 or 356,” he said

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