CM NOTE TO BUY PEACE WITH FRONT 

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By Staff Reporter in Calcutta
  • Published 14.11.01
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Calcutta, Nov. 14 :    Calcutta, Nov. 14:  The state government is preparing a note to enlighten the Left Front partners on the Bill it proposed to introduce in the Assembly to combat organised crime, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said today. "I agree I should have taken the Left Front members into confidence before attempting to introduce the Prevention of Organised Crime Ordinance," the chief minister told a meeting of Front partners. CPM politburo member Jyoti Basu was also present in the meeting which was presided over by Front chairman Biman Bose. Today was Bhattacharjee's first interaction with the Front partners after he was forced by the CPM politburo and the partners to drop plans for the Ordinance. Though the chief minister sounded apologetic for not keeping the partners in the picture from the beginning, he declined to put the now-abandoned draft Ordinance in the same bracket with the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance proposed by the BJP-led Centre. "There are certain fundamental differences between the two," he said. Bhattacharjee said he had rushed through the draft Ordinance as he was keen to empower the police to detain for more than the stipulated 90 days the accused in the Khadim's kidnap case. While appreciating the chief minister's compulsion to push the now abandoned Ordinance on the strength of approval from the Cabinet, Bose said that since the issue related to a "vital policy initiative", Bhattacharjee should have consulted the Front in advance. "They (the government) need not necessarily consult us in the Front for its day-to-day working," Bose said. "But on any major policy decision it is the convention that the Front should be consulted. We could have held an emergency meeting if the government told us that it was in a rush," he said. At today's meeting, Bhattacharjee said the organised crime syndicates dealing in abductions and disruptive activities have their tentacles running through the country and touching various parts of the world. To combat them, our police need a longer time frame to prepare fool-proof chargesheets. "The Ordinance was meant to attempt that. Unlike the Union government's, (our Ordinance) was in no way a repressive measure." Bose said: "We needed an appraisal on the differences between our Ordinance and the Centre's." He added that the chief minister would explain all relevant points when the related Bill was placed in the winter session of the Assembly. Bhattacharjee reported to the Left Front the high points of his trip to Japan, claiming that he had received "positive responses" from at least three industrial houses despite the worldwide recession which had deepened after the September 11 terror strikes on the US. During the day, the Front expressed concern over the condition of refugees coming in from neighbouring Bangladesh following what is described religious and political persecution in that country. Bose said Bhattacharjee had been asked to take up the matter with the Union government to ensure safety and security of the minorities in Bangladesh through bilateral negotiations. Both the state government and the Centre should take such steps as this would help to maintain cordial relations between the two countries and help maintain communal harmony.