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Check sale of illegal arms: West Bengal governor

kolkata Updated: Aug 07, 2009 09:53 IST

Asking the West Bengal government to move swiftly to check the sale of illegal arms and bring criminals to account, Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi has expressed his anguish at the rising level of political violence in the state.

In an emotional but hard-hitting statement Thursday night, the governor -- a grandson of Mahatma Gandhi -- observed that West Bengal was witnessing a "veritable tandava of political violence". In Hindu mythology, tandava is the dance of destruction of Lord Shiva.

Gopal Krishna Gandhi asked political leaders cutting across party lines to identify violent people within their own organisations and leave them to be dealt with by the law.

"The state too will, I am confident, (i) move swiftly to check the phenomenon of illicit arms; (ii) act to rapidly bring the perpetrators of violence to account; and (iii) instil confidence among the people that their politics and their security are not linked," he said in the wake of widespread political clashes in the state since the Lok Sabha elections this April-May.

The governor recalled Mahatma Gandhi's words: "There can be no reconstruction or hope for this land of ours, unless we eradicate the worship of force in all its forms, and establish work on a basis other than violence." The grandson said: "Ninety years later, that grim prognosis rings true again."

"Following the elections to the 15th Lok Sabha, our state has witnessed a veritable tandava of political violence. Not a day passes without someone somewhere being killed for his politics. The widow's wail rends each day," said Gandhi, whose stint in the Raj Bhavan has been marked by his much-discussed statements on vital political developments.

Referring to the requests from Congress, Trinamool Congress and the state's ruling Left Front that he do his bit to "stem this violence", the governor asked: "When the leading political formations of West Bengal have the same objective, why should violence not abate?"

"Because, I believe, those who can act are not doing so," he added.

Gandhi said the political life in the state was being engulfed by the fires of fear, bereavement and rage.

He reminded the political leaders that it was their duty to ask their followers to stamp out the fires and ensure "nobody provokes or gets provoked by violence into further violence".

"It becomes their duty to identify the violent within their own organisations and leave them to be dealt with by the law. This responsibility lies with all political leaders, right across party divides," he said.

On the Left Front legislators asking him to cooperate with the state government to protect life, property and democratic rights, Gandhi said: "I have done so in the past and consider it to be my duty to do so again and again. I believe that all of us must do our duty."