MHA sends team to Bengal, seeks report from governor on violence
The Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) on Thursday sent a four-member fact-finding team to West Bengal as post-poll violence continued to roil the state and a Union minister alleged his convoy was attacked by Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers.
In Bengal, chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced that 16 people from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), TMC and Sanyukta Morcha died in clashes, which began soon after her party won a thumping victory in assembly elections on Sunday. “We will pay a compensation of ₹2 lakh to their family members,” she said at the state secretariat in Kolkata, accusing BJP leaders of provocation.
MHA also sought a detailed report from governor Jagdeep Dhankar on the current law and order situation in Bengal, people familiar with developments said. On Monday, MHA had sought a detailed report from West Bengal government and asked it to take necessary steps to ensure such incidents stopped “without any loss of time”. The ministry also issued a reminder to the government in this regard on Wednesday.
The four-member team left for Bengal early Thursday. It will prepare a detailed report on the violence, possible suspects behind it and reasons for TMC government not being able to stop it, which will be submitted to the MHA for action, the people cited above said.
BJP alleged that TMC workers torched their homes, ransacked party offices and killed several members. “TMC goons attacked my convoy in West Midnapore, broken windows, attacked personal staff. Cutting short my trip,” tweeted Union minister of state for external affairs, V Muraleedharan.
Dhankhar condemned the violence. “Another sleepless night with reports of rampant post-poll violence continually pouring. Ashamed of such anarchy and lawlessness @MamataOfficial. In the morning another shocker from print media! All is well? How can this be? And today central minister attacked,” Dhankhar tweeted.
Dhankhar also alleged the state government was not sending reports sought by him. “Governance @MamataOfficial away from constitutional prescriptions. Post-poll violence and vandalism continue unabated. ACS @HomeBengal has not even sent reports sought by me 2 days ago and sitting ones from @WBPolic @KolkataPolice. Silence of Fourth Pillar of Democracy baffling,” the governor said in another tweet.
TMC denied the charges, saying BJP was putting out fake news and pointing out that several of its workers, including former MLA Udayan Guha, were attacked. “BJP leaders are roaming around, they are provoking. It is not even 24 hours of the new government, they are sending letters, teams and leaders are coming. They are actually not ready to accept the mandate. I request them to accept people’s mandate,” Banerjee said.
She said even central ministers will need to carry Covid-negative test report to enter West Bengal. The state made it mandatory for anyone entering the state on flights, long-distance trains and interstate buses to carry RT-PCR negative test report from May 7.
“Anyone coming from outside the state, including ministers, will have to carry test reports. We would check the reports even for those coming on special flights,” Banerjee said.