The three-member Central team that had come here to discuss the law and order situation in West Bengal left the city on Wednesday after talks spreading over two days with State and district officials and without visiting any of the “affected areas” as sought for by the the Opposition party, the Trinamool.
While the ruling Left Front had made clear its displeasure over the move to send the Central team, which it felt was “unnecessary,” the Trinamool urged the Centre to send the team and and called for the visit to the trouble-hit areas to see for itself the consequences of what it termed as “State-sponsored terrorism,” to back its demand for invoking Article 356.
The Central team’s decision against visiting any of the violence-affected areas that, according to the Trinamool , are evidence of the total breakdown in the administrative machinery, has comeas a major disappointment for the party and its chief, Mamata Banerjee who described the move to send the team to the State as a “victory for the people”. Rather, the Left Front’s opposition to the Central officials visiting only certain specific areas seems to have been vindicated.
The Central team, led by D.R.S. Chaudhary, Additional Secretary (Home), held a meeting with the district magistrates and superintendents of police of nine trouble-prone districts.
The districts are ones where there have been incidents of inter-party clashes as well as those affected by Maoist activities, tribal turmoil and political unrest stemming from the demand for a separate Gorkhaland.
On the Central team’s decision not to visit the districts, the Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen later told journalists: “They (the team officials) were satisfied with the briefing they got from the district officials and presumably did not feel the need to go anywhere.”
“The team made no comment on the law and order situation. It discussed matters with us and came up with specific suggestions on situation in the Maoist-affected areas but not on that in areas where there has been political violence,” he added.
“They (the team members) have not given any recommendations besides making a mention of the need for better technology for information gathering in Maoist-affected areas,” Mr. Sen said, adding that the talks provided the State administration with an opportunity to “have an exchange of ideas which is always better.”
The Central officials will be submitting a report to the Union Home Ministry on its return to New Delhi.
Earlier, a delegation of Trinamool that declined an invitation to meet the central officials at Writers’ Buildings did so at an alternative venue in the morning.
Submitting a memorandum containing a list of incidents of violence allegedly perpetrated against its workers, the leaders reiterated their request that the team visit some of the trouble-affected areas and speak to the families of the victims.