Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, chief minister of the Left Front government of West Bengal, wrote to the union home minister P Chidambaram the following letter on December 28, in reply to the latter’s accusation that armed CPI(M) cadre were creating law and order problems in the state.
KINDLY refer to your secret letter dated December 21-22, 2010, which had been published in the media before it reached my office on December 27, 2010, at 11 a m.
Your assessment of the situation in the state of West Bengal is surprising and is far from an impartial overview of the situation. Maoists have spread from across the bordering states and, with the help of small section of local people, are creating problems mostly in 28 police stations in three districts of West Bengal. They are trying to create their own area of dominance. They are indiscriminately killing political opponents and even innocent people. They are attacking police stations and police camps, and looting arms. They are also engaged in large scale extortions and other unlawful activities.
You are fully aware of these activities of the Maoists. The greatest challenge is how to contain the Maoists and defeat them finally, both administratively and politically.
In recent times the state and central police, through their joint efforts, have achieved major successes. Peace and normalcy have been restored in vast areas. People who were evicted earlier are going back to their homes. Government/panchayat offices are functioning normally and so are the schools, markets and shops. Life is gradually coming back to normalcy in these areas, but still we have problems in the areas bordering our state. Trinamul Congress, which was earlier maintaining secret contacts with Maoist leaders and outfits, are now openly organising meetings with them.
The CPI(M) and its allies are trying their best to resist the Maoists by mobilising people against them and, in the process, they have lost more than 170 of their workers and leaders. Unfortunately, you are now blaming them for the present state of affairs. I am afraid it will divert the attention of all concerned who are struggling against Maoists, the greatest threat to our internal security.
As regards political clashes mentioned in your letter, I would like to correct your figures. 32 Trinamul Congress supporters have been killed and 601 have suffered injuries. The CPI(M) has lost 69 of its cadres and another 723 have been injured. The Indian National Congress has lost one of its supporters and 111 have been injured during the period mentioned in your letter. I, however, agree that it is not a happy situation and I am trying my best to stop these senseless killings. I have repeatedly appealed to all the opposition parties to cooperate. All the parties except Trinamul Congress have come forward to cooperate. The Trinamul Congress has refused to talk to the administration. I am trying to disarm and demobilise all armed groups engaged in violence in some pockets in the state.
I strongly object to your using the word “harmad” to mean the CPI(M) party workers without knowing to the actual meaning of this nasty word coined by Trinamul Congress leaders.
More when we meet!