Saturday, April 30, 2005

Jharkhand legislators face Naxal taint

Indo-Asian News Service

Ranchi, April 30, 2005

Jharkhand's politicians are being haunted by their alleged Naxal links, with the resignation of a minister being demanded and an arrested ultra naming a Left legislator who had been given a helping hand during assembly polls two months ago.

A legislator of the ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) has demanded that Welfare Minister Ramesh Singh Munda be dismissed for allegedly striking an Rs 2.5 million deal with the Naxals for their help during the election campaign.s for their help during the election campaign.

Inspector General of Police (Operation) RC Kaithal made the charge in a letter he wrote to the Government before the election on providing extra security to Munda. The minister has denied the charge.

"(Kaithal's) report indicates that Munda enjoys relations with the Naxalites (Maoists). He should be dismissed immediately," JD-U legislator Radha Krishna Kishore said in a statement.

"Two sets of rules will not work. If a villager gives food to the extremists, he is arrested. Why should the minister not be dismissed," Kishore wondered.

Leader of Opposition Sudhir Mahto has also demanded Munda's resignation.

"The minister should be sacked. An FIR should be lodged against him and he should be interrogated for his links with the Naxalites," Mahto said.

Annapurna Devi, a legislator of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, has also joined in the chorus against Munda.

"Not only Munda, but other ministers have also won with the help of Naxalites," she charged, without taking any names.

Meanwhile, an arrested woman Naxal has told the police that the ultras had provided money and other help to Forward Block legislator Bahaupratap Dehati to enable win the assembly election.

Deokalia Devi, an "area commander", said that "zonal commander" Kameshwar Baitha had campaigned in favour of Dehati. Voters were told they would be beaten up if they did not vote for Dehati.

The legislator has refuted the charge and demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Jharkhand politicians being accused of Naxal links is nothing new, police say.

"We have proof that half-a-dozen politicians enjoying support of the Naxalites and took their help in the assembly and Lok Sabha election but we cannot take action," said a police officer.

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