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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Swap decision was exceptional: Buddhadeb

Just three days after the “shameful” swapping of Maoist prisoners in lieu of the release of West Bengal police officer Atindranath Dutta, state Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today termed the exchange as an exception and he promised to teach the Maoists “a lesson in the future”.
The Chief Minister was addressing a press conference at Banga Bhawan in the Capital here today, a day after he met Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram to discuss the law and order situation in the state. Yesterday, he had refused to comment on the issue.
He refuted the charge that the state government turned soft in releasing tribal women and men on bail to secure freedom of the abducted police officer.
Bhattacharjee said the decision was taken on humanitarian grounds and the judicial process against the 14 tribal women and nine men, whose bail was not opposed by the state, will go on. Replying to the question if Maoists now knew that abducting the police was a certain way to secure release of its people, the Chief Minister shot back: “If they have assumed this, they are wrong. I will teach them a lesson in the future”.
The Chief Minister rubbished suggestions that the decision of the state government did not go down well with the party. He said the exchange of prisoners with the cop took place after the Maoists offered mediation, and maintained that barring the brief period when Dutta was released, the police and Maoists continued to exchange fire.
As for Maoist leader Kishanji, who was in frequent touch with media, he said the state government was trying to locate and catch him.
Earlier in the day, Union Home Minister P Chidambbaram firmly refused to respond to the comments of Maoist leader Kishanji, who had laid down certain conditions for a dialogue with the government. “He is the leader of an organisation declared as unlawful,” said the Home Minister.

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