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Thursday 17 November 2011

CM’s rebel track switch is complete
Mamata shifts onus, CPM seeks apology
Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday consoles the family members of Ajit Singh Sardar and Banku, the father and son who were killed by Maoists on Monday. Picture by Sayantan Ghosh
Calcutta, Nov. 16: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee today said Maoists were responsible for the Jnaneswari Express sabotage, 19 months after she suggested the CPM was behind the plot that killed 160 people.
“Maoists were involved in the Jnaneswari Express sabotage in May 2010. They had triggered the accident. This has been proved,” the chief minister said at an event to pay last respects to Ajit Singh Sardar and Banku, the father and son killed by the rebels on Monday.
As the then railway minister, Mamata had said the accident was a “political conspiracy” and demanded a CBI probe. “The CPM is answerable to the people for the loss of lives in the Jnaneswari train disaster. I have no word to condemn the heinous act of the CPM,” Mamata had told a rally last year.
However, the compulsions of governance and the belligerence of the Maoists appear to have prompted Mamata to modify her stand — the shift becoming more after the recent murders of two Trinamul workers, Rabindranath Mishra and Lalmohan Mahato in West Midnapore.
However, Mamata stuck to her known stand that the Marxists and the Maoists were two sides of the same coin. Only, this time, she reproduced almost verbatim the opinion Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee used to voice when he was chief minister.
“It seems that the CPM and the Maoists have become blood-brothers. They must be careful that in the bid to attack Trinamul, they don’t start supporting the Maoists. I hope they will also raise their voice against the Maoists. Their workers have also been killed,” Mamata said.
The chief minister hinted at intensifying operations against the Maoists, underscoring the government’s responsibility to protect people. “The government cannot allow law and order to deteriorate. It is the government’s responsibility to protect its people. If killings go on, the government will not remain idle,” she said.
The CPM, yet to recover from the crushing electoral blow, leaped to cry vindication. Opposition leader Surjya Kanta Mishra demanded a public apology from the chief minister for having accused the CPM of being involved in the Jnaneswari Express sabotage.
Former minister Gautam Deb, whose high-decibel campaign during the election had drawn flak and who has been lying low, returned to the air waves today to criticise Mamata.
CPM state secretary Biman Bose said that Mamata had blamed the CPM to gain political mileage out of the Jnaneswari accident as that had occurred two days before the May 30 municipal polls. “Will she say now that what she had said last year was wrong?” Bose asked.
Mamata today opened another flank by lashing out at Maoist sympathisers in Calcutta and said those who “glorify crime are also criminals”. “We have information on the people who are providing the rebels with financial support, shelter, and helping them get trained,” she said.
‘Watch’ hangouts
Mamata appealed to the public to keep tabs on hangouts and places like Coffee House and College Square.
“Keep watch on newcomers in Uttarpara, Sodepur and Konnagar. Be alert in places like Coffee House, College Square and Basanta Cabin. They sit and talk at these places hatching new conspiracies. Wherever they go, who ever they meet, we get the information,” she said.
Mamata mentioned that Maoists have taken shelter in Sodepur, Uttarpara and Konnagar.
Reacting to Mamata’s statement that two Jadavpur University professors were helping the Maoists, Amit Bhattacharya, who teaches history at the university, said: “The chief minister is issuing threats to us. She cannot decide what ideology we will support. I will request her to hold dialogue with all the Jungle Mahal people concerned.”
Debleena Chakrabarty, founder member of Matangini Mahila Samity, the women wing of Maoist sympathisers, said: “Now a war between the poor people and the state has begun. We will support the poor people.”

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