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Do you need to hate Muslims to love Hindus: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee slams Centre over Niti Aayog meeting on Eid

The West Bengal chief minister slammed the Centre over scheduling a Niti Aayog meeting on Eid, saying the government should change its calendar if it doesn’t mark the Muslim festival.

india Updated: Jun 16, 2018 20:13 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Mamata Banerjee,Eid,Niti Aayog
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee greets Muslims after offering namaz to celebrate Eid-al-Fitr at Red Road, in Kolkata on June 16, 2018. (PTI)

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday slammed the Centre for scheduling a Niti Aayog meeting on the same day as Eid ul-Fitr, and warned that she will not compromise on the interests of minorities.

Although the chief minister had initially declared that she would not attend the meeting of the government think-tank’s governing council on account of the Eid festivities, she reconsidered after it was pushed by a day from June 16 to 17. Banerjee is now expected to reach Delhi on Saturday evening.

However, addressing an Eid congregation on Red Road earlier in the day, she spared no barb to target the Centre on its alleged religious insensitivity. “Why do they fix important meetings on Eid? I told them I cannot attend it,” the chief minister said. “They abuse me for loving Muslims. I indeed love them. But in order to love Hindus, do you have to hate Muslims?”

The BJP often accuses the Trinamool Congress chief of actively trying to appease Muslims in the state, who form 27.01% of its population (according to the 2011 census). Undeterred, Banerjee and her party colleagues make it a point to join in the Eid festivities every year.

“I told them that Eid may not be on their calendar, but it certainly happens to be on mine,” she told the gathering. “We celebrate Eid every year. If it’s not on their (the central government’s) calendar, they should change it. Our Muslim brothers are our own, and I will not leave the celebrations on Red Road and go anywhere on Eid day.”

The chief minister said she wouldn’t go anywhere even if there was a puja at her home. “In the same way, it can never be that I do not wish our brothers on Eid.”

The previous day, Banerjee had announced her decision to attend the Niti Aayog meeting despite not being very comfortable with the idea. “I have to go tomorrow even though I am not very willing to attend it. I am going because it is possibly the last meeting of NITI Aayog. Also, a number of chief ministers requested me to come because they want to discuss the situation in their states,” she said.

The meeting will be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

First Published: Jun 16, 2018 17:52 IST