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CPI rips Front gag on police

Calcutta, Aug. 28: Defying the CPM diktat not to blame the police for the Dhupguri strike as it would tantamount to an attack on chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, the CPI today went ahead and did just that.

Bhattacharjee also looks after the home (police) department that has come under fire following the August 17 attack on the CPM office that left five party functionaries dead.

Risking the CPM’s displeasure, the CPI today pointed out that “an utter failure” on the part of the Jalpaiguri district police was “solely responsible” for the KLO attack on the CPM office.

“We are convinced that the callous district police even ignored a warning from both the Special Branch and Intelligence Branch on the possible KLO attack in the Dhupguri area,” said CPI state secretary Manju Kumar Majumdar, who led a four-member team to Dhupguri yesterday to carry out an inquiry.

Barely a week ago, the CPM leadership had asked CPI, Forward Bloc and RSP functionaries not to blame the police alone for the killings, arguing that this would embarrass Bhattacharjee.

The CPM leadership even turned down a request from the partners to record the “non-performance” of the police in its resolution adopted at the Left Front meeting.

Key CPM leaders were not available for comment on the CPI outburst as they are in Delhi for the party’s Central Committee meeting.

Majumdar also did not rule out the possibility of a section of policemen having clandestine links with the KLO militants. “We have a strong suspicion that the KLO activists have made inroads into a section of the police force,” he said, adding that a party delegation would soon call on the chief minister and submit a report.

Minister for water investigation Nanda Gopal Bhattacharya, who was also present at the news conference, argued that such a massacre could not have happened if the police had been alerted.

“The KLO strike on the Dhupguri office is not a stray incident. The police are aware that the KLO has consolidated its base in Jalpaiguri district since 1989 and carried out several murders in the area,” he said.

The CPI leaders brushed aside fears that their public criticism of the police would tarnish the Left Front’s image. “This is necessary to make them aware of their responsibilities,” they said.

The leaders, however, felt that the KLO attack did not warrant introduction of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act in the state.

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