Vinay Kumar

Hope West Bengal government will also do so: Chidambaram

NEW DELHI: The Centre on Monday banned the Communist Party of India (Maoist), terming it a terrorist organisation. It invoked Section 41 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against the extremist outfit.

The CPI (Maoist) came into existence following the merger of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), the People’s War Group (PWG) and the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC).

The ban came two days after West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee met Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram in the backdrop of violent incidents in Lalgarh and the ongoing operation by the police and the security forces to reclaim the area.

The Chief Minister had said that his government would give a “serious thought” to banning the CPI (Maoist) as advised by the Home Minister.

The ban was to avoid any ambiguity though all formations and front organisations of the PWG, the MCC and the CPI (ML) came under the purview of the ban.

In September 2004, the CPI (ML) and the MCC announced their decision to merge and named the new organisation CPI (Maoist). There was some opposition to the merger and some elements in the two organisations continued to function independently.

Mr. Chidambaram said the merged organisation would continue to be listed as a terror organisation. “When I looked into the matter a couple of days ago, I said that may be the position in the law. In order to avoid any ambiguity, let us add the CPI (Maoist) by name in that schedule of the Act.”

Many States, including Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, had declared the CPI (Maoist) an unlawful association. Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu had done so under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

“When I had a discussion with Mr. Bhattacharjee, I advised him to ban the CPI (Maoist) under Section 16 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1908. That power is available with the State. I did not change my view. I still think that West Bengal should declare the CPI (Maoist) an unlawful association,” he told journalists.

Asked about the Left parties’ opposition to the ban, Mr. Chidambaram said the Left had taken a view which was not that of the West Bengal government. “I hope distinction between the party and the government is still there in this country. I expect that the Chief Minister will look into the matter.”

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