Pranab, Moily express concern over law & order in Bengal

Kolkata, January 9 (Agencies): Two central ministers on Sunday expressed concern over the law and order situation in West Bengal, two days after the death of seven people in firing at a village near the Maoist hub of Lalgarh. Asked for his comments in the aftermath of the killings, which allegedly involved assailants backed by the ruling Left Front major Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), finance minister Pranab Mukherjee told media persons that it was the responsibility of the state government to maintain law and order.
“It is (to be addressed by) the state government. After all who is responsible for law and order’s failure? What can I say,” he maintained. Mukherjee said there is violence in the state almost everyday. “People are being murdered, wounded. The law and order situation has deteriorated”. Law minister M Veerappa Moily, in the city to attend an official programme, said the country was worried about the state of affairs. “Every citizen of India is worried about the law and order situation in West Bengal. It’s most unfortunate.” He said the state government should take steps to seize illegal arms.
Seven people were shot dead and 17 wounded in violence triggered by assailants allegedly sheltered in an armed camp in the house of a CPI-M leader in Netai village, three km from Lalgarh, in West Midnapore district, on Friday. The CPI-M has denied the allegation. The state has been rocked by protests over the incident, with opposition parties and a large number of intellectuals and celebrities hitting the streets and blocking roads.
While state governor MK Narayanan has asked the state government to act decisively to contain the violence, union home minister P Chidambaram summoned chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to New Delhi at the earliest. The state has witnessed a spurt in political clashes that has claimed hundreds of lives ever since last year’s Lok Sabha polls in which the Trinamool Congress led opposition trounced the ruling Left Front. With the Assembly polls only months away, there are apprehensions that the violence may escalate. The Left Front has been in power uninterruptedly since 1977.