West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has told P. Chidambaram that the Union Home Minister's assessment of the State's situation was “surprising and far from impartial.”
Mr. Bhattacharjee also strongly objected to Mr. Chidambaram's use of the word, “Harmad” to denote CPI(M) party workers, saying Mr. Chidambaram has done so without knowing the actual meaning of the word coined by Trinamool Congress leaders.
In his reply to the letter written by Mr. Chidambaram last week, he said that while in recent times the State and Central police, through their joint efforts, had achieved major successes, the CPI(M) and its allies were trying their best to resist Maoists by mobilising people against them.
“In the process they have lost more than 170 of their workers and leaders. Unfortunately, you are now blaming them for the present state of affairs,” said the letter, which was faxed to the Union Home Minister on Tuesday and released to the press by the Chief Minister's Office on Wednesday.
Indicating that the government had taken a strong exception to the media-leakage of Mr. Chidambaram's letter, Mr. Bhattacharjee opened his reply, saying: “Kindly refer to your secret letter dated December 21/22, which had been published in the media before it reached my office on December 27 at 11 a.m.” The State government had made it clear on Tuesday that it would release the letter only after it reached the addressee.
Alleging that the Trinamool Congress has links with Maoists, the letter said: “the Trinamool , which was earlier maintaining secret contacts with Maoist leaders and outfits, is now openly organising meetings with them.”
Mr. Bhattacharjee said Maoists were creating problems mostly in 28 police stations in three districts of the State. “They are attacking police stations, police camps and looting arms. They are also engaged in large scale extortions and other unlawful activities. You are fully aware of these activities,” the Chief Minister said.
Correcting the Union Home Minister's tally on Trinamool men killed in political clashes in the State, he said against a figure of 32 for the Trinamool, the CPI(M) had lost 69 cadres in political clashes, which left 723 injured, compared to 601 of the Trinamool. The Indian National Congress has lost one of their supporters during the period mentioned in the Home Minister's letter, according to Mr. Bhattacharjee.
Admitting that the situation was not a happy one and the State was trying its best to stop senseless killings, the letter said that all parties, except the Trinamool, had come forward to co-operate. “I am trying to disarm and demobilise all armed groups engaged in violence in some pockets in the State,” Mr. Bhattacharjee said.
It may be mentioned that the word ‘harmad' has its genesis in the word ‘armada' and was used to describe the pirates and bandits who used to rule the seas in the Bay of Bengal off what is now known as Purba Medinipur in the 17th century which also had a port at that time.