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Reclaim Red areas, Centre tells state

The Centre came down heavily on the Bengal government for allowing the Maoist situation to get out of hand.

delhi Updated: Jun 17, 2009 23:25 IST
HT Political Bureau

The Centre came down heavily on the Bengal government for allowing the Maoist situation to get out of hand.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday bluntly told CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to reclaim areas taken by Maoists while the Congress said the Left Front government should quit if it is unable to run the affairs of the state in accordance with the Constitution.

“The impression is one side of the government is willing to take action, the other... is worried about the consequences.

Now, it is the judgement the CM must make. They must move (security) forces to affected areas and reclaim that area dominated by Maoists,” Chidambaram (63) said.

Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari, on his part, said what’s happening now is a “direct result” of the last 32 years of Left Front “misrule” and “non-existence of democracy” in the state, where “lokshahi was replaced by cadreshahi”. At the same >time, he “condemned” the Maoist violence.

But Congress leaders privately admitted they were not sure if the violence reflected people’s pent-up anger against the CPM or the growing role of ultras. “We think it is subterfuge Maoism. But if they are Maoists, it is extremely dangerous,” said one leader,.

There are “adequate” central paramilitary forces available to tackle the violence, Chidambaram, who spoke to Bhattacharjee earlier, said. He said the Centre was “worried about the consequences”.

With Maoist violence against CPI-M workers spreading from Lalgarh to Jhargram in West Midnapore district and the areas witnessing continuous clashes, the Home Ministry had on Tuesday dispatched 500 Central Reserve Police Force personnel. A complement of 1,100 personnel is already present in the three districts of West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura.

Conscious that the state government might send just the central forces to the firing line, the ministry has also made it clear that the state must ensure its own security personnel are also deployed.