Central team to visit violence-hit districts in W Bengal: PC

Central team to visit violence-hit districts in W Bengal: PC


Home Minister P Chidambaram"The Chief Secretary of West Bengal has indicated that they (Central team) can visit a few districts. They will draw up their plans accordingly," Home Minister P Chidambaram told reporters at a press conference here.


He reiterated that the visit of the Central team was "strictly in accordance with the Constitution" and the senior officials were in West Bengal only to help the state government maintain law and order and put an end to political clashes.

When pointed out that the visit of the Central team was criticised strongly in Parliament, Chidambaram shot back saying that members in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were satisfied by his reply.
"They have been told to hold discussions with the senior officers and Chief Secretary in Kolkata," he said.

Chidambaram had told Parliament yesterday that there was no need to view the Central team's visit through the "prism of Article 356" under which the President's Rule can be imposed in a state.
"The move to send the central team is entirely non-confrontational," he had said.

On the Gorkhaland Janmukti Morcha (GJM) stepping up campaign for a separate state, Chidambaram said talks with them have been scheduled for December 21 and he was confident that progress would be made.
"Until a problem is resolved it is always a matter of concern," he replied when asked whether the developments in the region were a cause of concern.

Chidambaram noted that the Centre had appointed Vijay Madan as its interlocutor for talks on the Gorkhaland issue.
The Home Minister also said the Centre was "watching carefully" the situation in Manipur where various student groups have been boycotting classes since September to protest the killing of a youth in an alleged encounter with police in July.
"I have discussed the matter with the Chief Minister of Manipur. I have impressed upon him on the need to resolve this issue so that the boys and girls can go back to school.
"The Centre is watching the situation carefully. We have offered to help Manipur. We hope the impasse will be resolved," Chidambaram said.

Information on foreigners to be shared on real-time basis
 Stung by the controversy over issuance of visa to terror suspect Tahawwur Rana, the government has decided to link all offices dealing with providing travel documents to foreigners to ensure sharing of information on a real-time basis.
Under this proposal, the offices of Foreigners' Division, Foreigners' Regional Registration Office, Ministry of External Affairs and all its Missions abroad will be interlinked,  Chidambaram said.
"This project is to ensure that (real-time) kind of connectivity takes place so that information is shared instantly on a real-time basis and decisions can therefore be taken on a real-time basis," he said.
Chidambaram said the FRROs, FROs and the foreigners' division are all now on a "stand-alone" basis with no real-time information sharing when a visa is issued.
"As it was issued by Counsel General in Chicago, there was no real-time information. So what we need is real-time sharing of information among all the offices which are dealing with foreigners," he said.
The move comes in the wake of the reports that the Indian Consulate in Chicago had issued visa to Rana, a Pakistani-Canadian, without referring his case to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

However, the consulate had claimed that there was no need to refer cases where an individual was a Pakistani citizen but had become a citizen of another country and surrendered his citizenship of Pakistan.
"It will be the connectivity between all the foreigners immigration offices, the MEA and all the missions abroad so that they will all be on real-time connectivity that is primarily is the whole purpose," Home Secretary G K Pillai said while describing the revamp of foreigners' divisions.
Rana was arrested by the FBI along with David Coleman Headley, a US citizen, for plotting terror attacks in India and Denmark. Indian officials also suspect their involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai terror strikes.

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