Mamata Banerjee won’t send chief secretary, police chief to Delhi on MHA summons
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has decided not to send the state’s chief secretary and police chief to New Delhi on Monday, reported news agency PTI. On Friday, they were issued summons by the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) to appear before it on December 14 over the law-and-order situation in the state following an attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president JP Nadda’s convoy on Thursday.
Chief secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay said, in a letter to Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla, he was directed to request to “dispense with the presence of the state officials” in the meeting in Delhi on December 14, according to PTI. 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, while seeking to be excused from attending the meeting.
According to the letter, the deputy inspector general of police of the range was stationed in the West Bengal’s South 24-Parganas district, where the BJP convoy was attacked, to supervise the arrangements personally. At the same time, four additional superintendents of police (SP), eight deputy SPs, 14 inspectors, 70 sub-inspectors/assistant sub-inspectors, 40 RAF personnel, 259 constables and 350 members of auxiliary forces were deployed on the route and at the venue at Diamond Harbour, it added.
The letter comes as MHA asked Bandopadhyay and the state’s director general of police Virendra to appear before it. It also comes after Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar submitted a report to the central government about the “extremely disturbing developments that do not augur well for democratic values.” He alleged that violators of law in the state have the protection of police and administration.
The rift between the Centre and state comes in the backdrop of the BJP convoy was attacked at Shirakol in Diamond Harbour, the Lok Sabha constituency of Abhishek Banerjee, who is chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew.
According to the BJP, some of the party’s frontline leaders, as well as workers, sustained injuries after being assaulted by the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress. Television news footage showed stones raining on the convoy and shattering windshields. Vehicles of some media houses were also damaged. BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, its national vice-president Mukul Roy and national secretary Anupam Hazra were hit by stones and shards of glass from shattered windows and windshields of their cars, according to the party.
Nadda was visiting Diamond Harbour as part of his two-day trip to the state. He said after the attack that the state had plunged into a state of lawlessness and appealed to the BJP’s workers to ensure the party’s win in the assembly elections scheduled for 2021.