Friday, September 22, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Advani drubs West Bengal on violence
Crucial NDA meeting on Saturday

HYDERABAD, Sept 21 (PTI, UNI) — Terming West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu’s outburst against Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee as “intemperate and reflective of panic”, Union Home Minister L. K. Advani today asked the Marxist government to put an end to political violence in the state to the “satisfaction of people”.

“I am disturbed that the Chief Minister should use such intemperate language directed at my colleague (Mamata Banerjee). This is a manifestation of panic and jitters that Marxist hegemony is being effectively challenged”, he said in an informal chat with reporters here.

Mr Advani was responding to Mr Basu’s strongly-worded letter yesterday asking him to restrain the Trinamool Congress leader from “inciting violence” in the state.

Pointing out that Mr Basu did not deny the “basic facts” about political violence prevailing in some parts of West Bengal, Mr Advani said it was the responsibility of the state government “to see that violence comes to an end”.

Mr Advani was here to review the passing-out parade of the 20th batch of sub-inspectors of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) at the National Industrial Security Academy (NISA) campus in Hakimpet.

Declining to field any questions on the Centre’s move in West Bengal, the Home Minister said “I had the opportunity to talk to the Prime Minister about the issue last night”.

Referring to the veteran Marxist leader’s remark that he need not satisfy Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on the steps to maintain law and order, Mr Advani said “but he should satisfy the people of his state and reassure all democrats in the country at that democracy is safe and secure”.

The West Bengal Chief Minister had also asked Mr Advani not to be swayed by political considerations and maintain neutrality on the issue of law and order in the state.

Mr Advani, however, objected to Mr Basu’s assertion that violence by his party cadre was only retaliatory in nature. “I did not expect this kind of reply from the state government. Violence is violence, whether it is retaliatory or otherwise,” he said.

NEW DELHI: It was for the West Bengal Government to maintain neutrality instead of asking Home Minister to do so as Chief Minister Jyoti Basu has tacitly admitted the state government’s failure to protect its people, BJP spokesman M. Venkaiah Naidu said today.

Reacting to Mr Basu’s letter to the Home Minister, Mr Naidu said the Chief Minister may be forgetful, but the people are not. It was only last month that Mr Basu had gone on record advising people to attack those who attacked them.

The BJP President, Mr Bangaru Laxman, will be going to West Bengal tomorrow for an on the spot study of the deteriorating law and order situation in parts of the state.

Further upping the ante on the law and order in West Bengal, constituents of the NDA will meet here on Saturday to discuss the issue in the wake of violence involving Trinamool as and CPI (M) and Trinamool demand for Central intervention in the state, led by NDA convener and Defence Minister George Fernandes, is likely to discuss various options available to the Centre, NDA sources said.

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