We don't expect Manmohan to sack Mamata, but will he at least reprimand her. Or just show disaproval?
Prasanna Mohanty | August 10, 2010
Union railway minister Mamata Banerjee has raised a storm that the union government will find hard to ignore. "I believe Azad had been murdered. It was unjust,” she declared at a public rally in West Bengal’s Lalgarh yesterday referring to the death of Maoist leader Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad in a police encounter in Andhra Pradesh last month.
The implications are grave since she also referred to and relied on the information provided by Swami Agnivesh, the centre’s interlocutor trying to arrange peace talks with the Maoists. Agnivesh had earlier alleged that the union home ministry shadowed his movement to reach Azad who was carrying his message to the Maoist leadership holed up in Bastar when he was killed.
What Banerjee said clearly implies that the union home ministry was directly involved in the extra-judicial killing of Azad. If indeed that is so, the prime minister should act quickly and take appropriate measures. Given the fact that the Central Bureau of Investigation has arrested and put Gujarat home minister Amit Shah behind bars for his alleged role in a similar killing of Shorabuddin, the natural course is to order an inquiry and book whoever is responsible.
But since the finger this time is pointing towards his own government, it is unlikely that the prime minister will be quick on the draw in the use of his toy gun, the Central Bureau of Investigation. Of course, there is no reason to take Mamata's word on face value because to get to Writers' Building, she can say just about anything.
In that case, though, it is incumbent upon the prime minister to at least reprimand her openly for her calculated indiscretion that has put his government in a very embarrassing situation of human rights violation. Banerjee is not only directly implicating the union government in the murder, she is violating the principle of collective responsibility of the council of ministers.
Home minister P Chidambaram has threatened to jail civil society activists just for their ideological backing of the Maoists and questioning of the State. Who will read the riot act to Mamata? For god's sake, prime minister, she has just accused your government of cold blooded murder!
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