‘Pre-planned violence’: Mamata Banerjee’s double-barrelled attack on BJP, ECI | Kolkata - Hindustan Times

‘Pre-planned violence’: Mamata Banerjee’s double-barrelled attack on BJP, ECI

Apr 18, 2024 03:33 PM IST

Mamata Bannerjee’s attack came a day after several people were injured in a clash during a Ram Navami procession in Murshidabad district’s Shaktipur town

KOLKATA: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of instigating violence during Ram Navami celebrations in Murshidabad district’s Shaktipur town on April 17, saying the Murshidabad deputy inspector general (DIG) Mukesh Kumar was shifted out on Monday as part of this plan.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said the violence in Shaktipur town during the Ram Navami procession was pre-planned (REUTERS FILE PHOTO)
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said the violence in Shaktipur town during the Ram Navami procession was pre-planned (REUTERS FILE PHOTO)

“The violence was pre-planned. A BJP MLA created trouble at the same place a day before yesterday (Tuesday). Why was he carrying arms at the Ram Navami rally yesterday? I want to ask the BJP Commission why the DIG was removed just before Ram Navami. Was it done to help BJP?” Banerjee said, referring to election watchdog Election Commission of India (ECI) as the BJP commission. She did not identify the MLA by name.

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“Nineteen people were injured in yesterday’s violence. The officer-in-charge (of the local Shaktipur police station) sustained a head injury. People from a specific community were assaulted,” Banerjee said at an election rally in north Bengal’s Raiganj Lok Sabha constituency on Thursday.

Banerjee’s attack on the ECI follows the ECI order on Monday, April 15, to remove Murshidabad DIG Mukesh Kumar without citing any reason, leading Banerjee to accuse the Election Commission of removing the police officer at the BJP’s behest. “Now, if there are riots in Murshidabad and Malda, the responsibility will lie with the Election Commission. The BJP wanted to change the police officers to trigger riots and violence. If there is even one riot, the ECI will be responsible as they are looking after law and order here,” she said on April 15.

Shaktipur is part of the Berhampore Lok Sabha constituency represented by state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury since 1999. Berhampore goes to the polls in the fourth phase on May 13.

State Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, who took part in processions in every Bengal district on April 17, and some of whom were spotted brandishing swords in violation of court orders, accused the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) of not protecting Hindus during the attack.

Leader of the opposition in legislative assembly, Suvendu Adhikari, who took part in a procession in Howrah, hit out at the Mamata Banerjee government on Wednesday.

“A peaceful Ram Navami Procession, which had all the due permission from the Administration, was attacked by miscreants at Saktipur; Beldanga - II Block; Murshidabad. Strangely, this time around, Mamata Police joined the miscreants in this ghastly attack and fired tear gas shells on the Ram Devotees to disperse them to ensure that the procession ends abruptly,” said Adhikari in a post on X.

Ram Navami celebrations have turned into a political battleground in recent years with rallies escalating into major political face-offs and even communal riots. Clashes had erupted in Howrah on March 30 last year and later spread to two other districts, North Dinajpur and Hooghly.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the attack on the TMC over Ram Navami processions, accusing the TMC government of trying to stall the processions in the state on grounds of law and order

“I know that the TMC, like always, tried all means and hatched conspiracies to stall Ram Navami celebrations in the state. But truth triumphs. The court has given permission. Tomorrow processions will be held with full faith and devotion,” PM Modi said at Balurghat in South Dinajpur district on Tuesday.

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