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Centre repeats: CPI-Maoist a terror outfit,CPM insists on ‘political’ fight

The Centre on Monday banned the CPI (Maoists) as terrorist organisation under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata |
June 22, 2009 9:03:52 am

The Centre on Monday clarified and restated in specific terms that it considers the CPI (Maoist) — the Naxalite group that has been engaging police and security forces in Lalgarh — a banned terrorist organisation.

The CPM — whose cadres were being killed by the CPI (Maoist) on an almost daily basis till the forces moved in last week — rejected the statement immediately,and declared that it wants to fight the violence “politically”.

On Monday evening,the CPM-led Bengal government was learnt to have sought legal opinion on whether it was constitutionally binding on it to implement the ban. Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen said the Centre’s decision is binding,“but the manner of implementation will be the state’s discretion.”

Also in Kolkata,Trinamool chief and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee appeared to be putting considerations of Bengal politics above national security issues. “Don’t ask me about it,I was not part of it,” she said,disowning the decision taken by the central government.

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The union home ministry announced in the afternoon that it was adding the CPI (Maoist) as a separate entry — No. 35 — in India’s official list of ‘terrorist organisations’ proscribed under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

This was a re-statement — aimed at making the list completely unambiguous — of the government’s view of the organisation: the CPI (Maoist) had been formed by the merger of two banned organisations,the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist),and it was,therefore,deemed banned as well — even though it was not,until now,specifically listed as such.

The home ministry’s list of terrorist organisations clearly mentions that all formations and front organisations of the MCC and CPI (ML) would also be considered part of the list.

Said Home Minister P Chidambaram: “All that we have done today is to avoid any ambiguity. We have added the words ‘CPI (Maoist)’ in the schedule of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. It was always a terror organisation and today an ambiguity has been removed.”

The CPM — whose government in Bengal remains the only one among Naxal-hit states not to have banned the CPI (Maoist) — decried the move.

General Secretary Prakash Karat said in New Delhi that banning the Maoists won’t serve any purpose. “They will function under some other name,” he said,adding that the CPM believed that the Maoists needed to be fought “politically and administratively”.

In Kolkata,Left Front chairman and CPM state secretary Biman Bose said in a statement,“It is not possible to counter the misleading Maoist politics by banning the organisation. We have to fight such organisations politically.”

RSP’s Kshiti Goswami said: “I cannot understand why the union government wants to ban Maoists in Bengal. We will have to gather confidence of the common people in Lalgarh,and banning the Maoists will create a problem in this.”

The issue is likely to be discussed at the Left Front meeting tomorrow.

CPM sources said Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had met the state CPM leadership at the party headquarters in Alimuddin Street this morning to explained the Centre’s view on banning the CPI (Maoist). The Centre has been urging the Bengal government to ban the organisation,and following a meeting with Chidambaram in Delhi on Saturday,Bhattacharjee had said he would “seriously think” about agreeing.

The CPM’s Sitaram Yechury met Chidambaram for nearly an hour today to discuss Lalgarh and the decision to include the CPI (Maoist) in the list of terror organisations.

Talking to reporters later,Yechury conceded that the Maoists were a grave threat to internal security,but refused to say whether the party welcomed the move to put the CPI (Maoist) in the list of terror outfits.

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