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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

‘Why allow large CRPF convoy after intel inputs’: Mamata on Pulwama attack

She also accused the BJP and RSS of fomenting communal tension in the wake of the terror assault that claimed the lives of at least 40 CRPF troopers.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2019 23:18 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee Monday questioned the timing of the Pulwama terror attack, asking whether the government wanted to go to war when Lok Sabha elections were round the corner.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee Monday questioned the timing of the Pulwama terror attack, asking whether the government wanted to go to war when Lok Sabha elections were round the corner.(ANI)

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday attacked the Union government for engaging in a “shadow war” with Pakistan in the aftermath of the February 14 suicide attack in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers were killed in Pulwama, and asked if the administration’s actions were linked to the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

In the first discordant note stuck by a senior Opposition leader since the incident, the Trinamool Congress chief said her party remained silent since the incident, but “we will not take lessons in patriotism from anyone”.

“Starting from Pathankot [air base attack in 2016] to this one, what have you [the National Democratic Alliance government] done in five years? Is it only when elections are knocking on the door, that you’re thinking of getting the country involved in another war, to play a shadow war and - with the lives of people?” she said.

“We, the Opposition, together decided not to criticise the government on terrorism. There are questions, but we did not raise them now to stay united. But now we find that while we are keeping quiet, Modiji and Amit Shah are delivering speeches daily and pretending to be the only patriots in the country,” she said, adding that there were lapses which the administration must answer for.

“Who will take the responsibility for the incident? Why was no action taken despite specific inputs? Why were they [CRPF] not airlifted instead of sent by road? The government has money for publicity but not for protecting the lives of soldiers,” Banerjee said.

The West Bengal chief minister also alleged that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, its ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Sangh offshoot Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) were trying to foment communal trouble by “taking advantage of the situation”. “Terrorists are terrorists, they don’t belong to any religion. Terrorists should be punished, but why are you trying to divide society?” Banerjee said.

The BJP, the RSS and the VHP lashed out at Banerjee, saying her comments were motivated by “vote bank politics”. “The whole country is mourning the loss of our CRPF jawans and she is making such baseless statements. What she has said is not even being said by people in Pakistan...,” BJP spokesperson Anil Baluni said.

“At a time when the countrymen are trying to stand united against enemies, she is trying to divide the nation by highlighting her communal agenda. She is prioritising vote bank politics over national security,” said. Sachindranath Singha, VHP in-charge for eastern India. “Her comments are ridiculous. RSS follows an ideology. Nobody would do the things she has alleged,” said Jishnu Basu, the south Bengal secretary of the RSS.

Reacting to Banerjee’s remarks, Biswanath Chakraborty, a professor of political science at Rabindra Bharati University said: “ It seems that Banerjee has finalised opposition to Modi as her prime weapon because she wants to ensure minority votes in bulk. ”

First Published: Feb 18, 2019 19:11 IST

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