Centre calls top Bengal officers again after state’s strong reaction
The Centre has once again summoned the chief secretary and director general of police of West Bengal to Delhi regarding the law-and-order situation in the state after they skipped the last meeting on December 14, officials said on Friday. Union home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla sent a letter in this regard to West Bengal chief secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay and DGP Virendra on Thursday evening, they added.
The meeting has been scheduled for 5pm, according to officials. The summons have come after an attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president JP Nadda’s convoy earlier this month.
Bandopadhyay had written to the Union home secretary earlier, saying he was directed to request to “dispense with the presence of the state officials” in the meeting in Delhi on December 14. In his two-page letter Bandopadhyay wrote, “While further reports are being obtained and compiled, in the circumstances, I am directed to request you to kindly dispense with the presence of the State officials in the meeting, considering that the State Government is already addressing this issue with utmost seriousness.”
He added that incidents regarding Z-category protectees were already being examined and that the West Bengal police had provided a bulletproof car and a pilot to Nadda, along with the escort vehicle by the state government, personnel and personal security officers (PSOs) by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). “While the central protectees had their own central protection arrangements, these arrangements were made over and above the same from the end of the State,” Bandopadhyay wrote.
The cavalcade was attacked at Serakhol in Diamond Harbour, the Lok Sabha constituency of Abhishek Banerjee, who is chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew.
Amid the tussle between the Centre and the eastern state, Union home minister Amit Shah is set to visit West Bengal for two days from December 19. Shah had visited Bengal last month - on November 4 - to formulate campaign strategy for the assembly polls due early next year and also took part in outreach programmes.
The Union home minister condemned the attack on cars of several party leaders, including that of BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh which were part of the convoy. “The attack on BJP president JP Nadda is condemnable. No matter how much we condemn, it will not be enough. The Centre is taking this very seriously. The West Bengal government will be answerable to the peace-loving people of the state for this,” Shah tweeted in Hindi on Thursday.
The Union home ministry has also asked state governor Jagdeep Dhankhar to submit a report on law and order situation in the state and steps taken by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government to maintain peace.