Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Thursday accused Trinamool Congress chief and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee of “stoking panic and terror” among Muslims in West Bengal, where campaigning is on for municipal elections, and sought Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram's intervention in defusing the situation in the State.

CPI(M) leaders Basudeb Acharia and Sitaram Yechury met Mr. Chidambaram and submitted a memorandum to him, charging Ms. Banerjee with “deliberately stoking panic and terror amongst the Muslim minority population.”

They said she was claiming that she had “secret information that a section of the police will help the Left Front in unleashing communal violence in the State.”

“If indeed the Trinamool leader does possess some secret information, we request you as the Home Minister to obtain such information and act on it in consultation with the State government,” they said in the memorandum.

“If on the contrary, there is no such information, as surely is the case, then may we request you to set at rest the apprehensions and tensions that have resulted from the Union Minister's utterances,” Mr. Acharia and Mr. Yechury, party leaders in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha respectively said.

Later, Mr. Yechury told reporters outside North Block that during the last 33 years of the Left Front government in West Bengal, the State always maintained communal harmony and fraternity.

“This record makes all of us proud in India and is often portrayed as the symbol of India's strength in secular democracy,” he said. “Any effort to blemish this record is not in the interests of our country's unity and integrity. Further, casting such wild and unsubstantiated allegations, especially by a Union Cabinet Minister, also violates the provisions of the Representation of People Act, 1951,” they pointed out.

They also submitted another letter in this regard, written by Left Front Chairman Biman Bose, seeking to draw the attention of the Home Minister.

Assurance

Mr. Yechury said the Home Minister assured them that communal harmony and amity in West Bengal would not be allowed to be disturbed and the Centre would meet the requirements of the State in terms of sending additional forces, if there was any need for it.