June 25, 2009

Lalgarh tense, says Chidambaram

NEW DELHI, JUNE 21: Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Sunday described the situation in Lalgarh in West Bengal as “sensitive and tense.” He urged citizens, especially political leaders, not to go to the conflict area, even as Left MPs appealed to the Prime Minister to intervene following reports that some Union Ministers were reaching there.

“The situation in Lalgarh is sensitive and continues to be tense. Besides, the CPI (Maoist) has called for a [a two-day] bandh [from] tomorrow [Monday]. Security forces must carry on their work without distraction. Hence I appeal to all citizens, especially political leaders, NGOs, and others, not to go to the conflict area,” Mr. Chidambaram said in a brief statement.

The Home Ministry cautioned the people to remain vigilant against possible violence during the bandh called by the Maoists in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal. The Maoists might target security forces, economic infrastructure and public places.

Sixteen MPs of the Left parties wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday, urging him to intervene. They pointed to media reports about some Union Cabinet Ministers proceeding to the affected areas and making public comments. They were apparently referring to reports that two Ministers, belonging to the Trinamool Congress, were in the area. They told Dr. Singh that he had drawn the country’s attention to the fact that the Maoist activities constituted “one of the gravest threats” to India’s internal security. “In this situation, we…seek your personal intervention to ensure that the joint operations are not adversely complicated by utterances and actions of some members of the Union Council of Ministers as reported by the media.”

The signatories are Sitaram Yechury, Brinda Karat, Mohd. Amin, Basudeb Acharya, Shyamal Chakraborty, P. Karunakaran, A. Vijayaraghavan, P. Madhu, T.K. Rangarajan, Bajuban Riyan, Khagen Das and Tapas Sen of the CPI (M); D. Raja of the CPI; Abani Roy of the Revolutionary Socialist Party; and Barun Mukherjee and Narhari Mahato of the All-India Forward Bloc.

(Full Text of the letter added below)

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