The Congress on Monday said home minister, P Chidambaram's letter to West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee about armed Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) activists in the state, was only meant to disarm the cadre.
The Congress denied allegations that the letter was politically motivated.
“CPI-M cadres are armed and they are working like millitia in the state,” party spokeman Shakeel Ahmed told reporters. “So, the home minister has written to the chief minister to disarm the cadres. In a democracy, only police can be armed,” he said.
Chidambaram in his letter said that complaints received by the central government "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 (Maoist) attacks".
"There is evidence to show that the camps are mostly located in CPI-M offices and those of local cadres. It is a matter of grave concern that these cadres have been provided with firearms," he said in the letter.
The CPI-M, however, said the move was aimed at helping the Congress' ally Trinamool Congess, the main opposition party in West Bengal, and have demanded an apology.
“In politics, it is very easy to demand a resignation or apology. As far as this letter is concerned, the home minister has written to disarm the party cadre, who are doing unlawful activity,” Ahmed said.