Inter-party clashes on in West Bengal: Chidambaram (Lead)

July 6th, 2012 - 12:07 am ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Kolkata, July 5 (IANS) In a virtual snub to the Mamata Banerjee government, union Home Minister P. Chidambaram Thursday noted that inter-party clashes were continuing in West Bengal, adding that a “bullet-for-bullet” scenario had no place in a democracy.

He also made an appeal for bringing to an end the inter-party clashes in the state.

However, Chidambaram’s comments drew a sharp response from the Trinamool Congress government, which termed his attack as a “conspiracy” and an attempt to pressurise the state’s ruling party to support Congress candidate Pranab Mukherjee for the presidential polls.

“Still there are specific incidents of violence in many parts of West Bengal… Most of these incidents are due to inter-party clashes. That’s not a sign of democracy,” Chidambaram said speaking at the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce here.

“Democracy is a place for word for word, argument for argument and not for bullet for bullet. That’s not the way democracy functions. Political parties must abjure violence before we call upon militant and extremist groups to abjure violence,” he said.

Reeling out statistics, he said in the first half of the current year, 82 people have been killed in 455 incidents of violence across the state.

But he also patted the state government for the “remarkable improvement” in the situation in three districts which were earlier hotbeds of Maoist activities.

“During the run up to (last year’s assembly) elections there were hundreds of incidents of violence in which 204 people were killed. But after that the volence has come down especially due to remarkable improvement in the situation in the Naxalite (Maoist) infested districts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia,” Chidambaram said.

Countering Chidambaram, state Panchayats Minister Subrata Mukherjee said the central government was trying to give oxygen to the opposition Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).

“It is an effort to put pressure on us (Trinamool) regarding the presidential election. They are trying to give oxygen to opposition CPI-M. Law and order is a state subject. This is nothing but a conspiracy against us,” he retorted.

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