September 9, 2010

CPI(M): camps set up to lodge people evicted by Maoists

The Hindu, Kolkata, September 2, 2010

A day after Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram said there was a general agreement on the existence of camps of armed cadres in parts of West Bengal, Biman Basu, secretary of the State Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), said here on Thursday that his party set up camps on the fringes of the Jangalmahal area only to shelter those evicted from their homes by Maoists.

“Our party is working in the Jangalmahal area [that spans the forest areas of the districts of Paschim Medinipur, Bankura and Purulia], but that does not mean we have set up camps for armed cadres,” Mr. Bose said, when asked to comment on Mr. Chidambaram's statement.

Mr. Chidambaram might not have mentioned the CPI(M) while making his remarks, but they came in the background of allegations by the Trinamool Congress that the CPI(M) set up several armed camps in the region under the cover of the joint security operations to flush out Maoists.

Mr. Bose said the people of the region were united in offering resistance to Maoists.

The camps set up by the CPI(M) were for “those driven out of their homes,” some of which were set on fire and ones who were “under a constant threat from Maoists.”

The CPI(M) was trying to revive its activities in the region and could not remain silent in the face of atrocities being committed on people, he said.

“The people are also rising up against the extremists' activities having learnt from their bitter experience,” Mr. Bose said.

Senior leader of the CPI(M) and member of its central committee, Nilotpal Basu said the least expected of the Centre was that it got together all political forces against those violating the Constitution and breaking the law.

IG refutes charges

Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) S.K. Purakayastha discounted reports of armed camps being set up in the Jangalmahal area by any political party.

Camps there belonged to the security forces, who were engaged in activity related to area domination.

The police did not receive any formal complaint from any political quarter of armed cadres being housed in camps.

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