Stating that at least 16 people of different political parties have lost their lives in the post-poll violence in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party, saying unable to digest defeat in the state elections they were sending central ministers to incite unrest in Kolkata.
She announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the families of those who lost their lives in the post-poll violence.
Banerjee, during a press meet at the state secretariat, also said that her government will provide job of a home guard to one family member each of the five persons who were killed in Central Industrial Security Force firing in Cooch Behar’s Sitalkuchi area during fourth phase of voting on April 10.
“At least 16 persons mostly from the BJP and the Trinamool Congress and one of the Samyukta Morcha — have been killed in the post-poll violence. We will pay a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to family members of the victims.
“There will be no discrimination in providing compensation. This is just a relief. Victims of all political parties will get it. Our government will also provide job of home guard to the next of kin of Sitalkuchi victims,” she said.
Banerjee said that most of the 16 deaths were reported till May 3 when the law and order was under the Election Commission of India (ECI).
The CM added that incidents of such violence were occurring mostly in Cooch Behar district and in those places where the BJP has won the elections.
“We have found that places where the BJP has won the elections are having such violence and clashes. We have found some black spots where this violence has taken place. I will ask my party members not to get involved in any violence as I will act tough in case anyone is found guilty in it,” she added.
West Bengal has been witnessing incidents of violence after completion of polls in different parts of the state following which the Union Home ministry asked the state government to take all measures necessary to stop them.
In an apparent reference to attack on Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan’s convoy in Paschim Medinipur on Thursday, Banerjee accused central leaders of inciting violence in the state.
“We do not want any violence to take place here in Bengal. But, we can see that there are some Central ministers who are unnecessarily coming to the state despite all political gatherings having been stopped due to the COVID-19 situation.
“Why are they going to the villages and inciting people for violence. I will request them not to do so and deteriorate the situation,” she said.
“Instead of helping the people in this situation, they are sending central teams to Bengal… Why are their ministers coming to Bengal and going to the villages to spread the infection, instead they should visit the COVID-19 hospitals,” she told reporters during the day.
Taking a swipe at the BJP, she said that the saffron party was yet to come to terms with the peoples mandate.
“Not even 24 hours have passed since I was sworn-in as the CM, central teams have started arriving. This is because the BJP has not yet reconciled to the mandate of common people.
“I will request the saffron party leaders to accept the mandate,” she said.
“Please allow us to focus on the COVID situation. We do not want to engage in any squabble,” she added.
Banerjee wondered why no such team has paid a visit to hospitals when patients do not get oxygen or necessary vaccination and when a girl was gangraped in Uttar Pradesh’s Hatras district.
“When there are riots in Delhi or Uttar Pradesh why do not we see any teams coming? Why no team visits when journalists are murdered?” she questioned.
Incidentally, a four-member union home ministry team reached the state on Thursday to look into reasons for the post-poll violence in the state.
The team met the chief secretary, home secretary and the director general of police at the state secretariat and also visited places where post-poll violences were reported.
“They came here, had tea and snacks and left. Thank you. Guests can come but at this time we will conduct RT-PCR tests whoever is coming to our state.
“Even those who are coming in special flights we will conduct tests on them and if found positive we will quarantine them,” she said.
The TMC supremo further said that a CID team has initiated a probe into the incident of firing in Cooch Behar that took place amid the voting exercise on April 10.
On Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal tweeting that hundreds of people from Bengal being affected by the post-poll violence have entered into Assam, Banerjee said that was a political ploy of the BJP.
‘Hundreds of people affected by the post-poll violence in Bengal have entered into Assam. I have instructed both CS and DGP to render all necessary assistance to them including food and shelter,’ Sonowal had tweeted earlier on Thursday.
“The BJP is doing this politically. When problems arise in Assam they come to my state since Cooch Behar is a bordering district.
“Coming and going is an everyday affair. The issue is that BJP has all its CMs to say something against me,” the TMC supremo said.