West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Monday the "law and order" situation in the state is under control and police officers allegedly conniving with hooligans will be punished.
“The police have been asked to take strong steps. There are some sub-inspectors and OCs who are not doing their job properly and are associating themselves with hooligans. Strong steps will be taken,” Banerjee told reporters after a meeting at the state secretariat in Kolkata.
Banerjee also holds the portfolio as the state’s police minister. She also warned government officials of appropriate measures by her administration, who, during the election period neglected their duties and instead chose to be more politically involved.
Her comments come in wake of the recent incident in Sandeshkhali in the state where allegedly three BJP’s and one TMC supporter lost their lives in a violent clash on Saturday, which promoted the Centre to issue advisory to the state government to bring the situation under control and take adequate steps against officials found delinquent in the discharge of their duty.
The Centre has blamed the Banerjee government over failure on the part of the law enforcement machinery of the state to maintain the rule of law and inspire confidence among people. West Bengal governor, K N Tripathi had also expressed his concerns over the deteriorating law and order situation.
Estimates from various political parties suggests the casualty count to be around 14-15 since May 23 with numerous party activists either missing or unable to return home.
Referring to the Sandeshkhali fiasco, Banerjee said, “Two-three incidents have happened after the elections and two people were killed. How are they (BJP) claiming people to have gone missing? If this is the case, give us the missing person’s names and address details”, she said.
Apart from the deaths, the BJP has named its missing workers on social media platform and claimed that their family members believe them to have been already killed by TMC supporters.
Besides, the saffron party also alleged that the TMC, after the polls, is now trying to frighten voters who had voted for the BJP and areas like Haldia, Tamluk and Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar district in the state may see a repeat of incidents similar to Sandeshkhali.
“The TMC is taking revenge on people who voted for us and create fear among people”, Joyprakash Majumder, vice president of the state’s BJP unit said.
Banerjee alleged that the BJP, on an average had spent Rs 45 crore in each of the 42 constituencies in the state to lure voters and besides spending heavily on social media networks and messaging apps to encourage sectarianism and instigate violence in the state
Bengal’s Bangladesh connection
After illegal infiltration from Bangladesh became an election issue, both the TMC as well as the BJP have engaged themselves in a spat of words alleging each other of relying on the muscle power from India’s eastern neighbour for political gains and violence.
The BJP alleged that TMC sponsored miscreants from Bangladesh, illegally entering India, were behind the killings in Sandeshkhali and they have been crossing borders regularly to instigate violence in border areas and then exfiltrate illegally back to that country.
“The TMC is bringing in political goons from across the border to terrorise people who are voting against them and these goons, with political backing, are escaping back to Bangladesh. These infiltrators had instigated the violence at Sandeshkhali”, Majumder alleged.
On the other hand, Banerjee, talking to media in the state secretariat, alleged that the BJP has also been relying on support from Bangladesh to secure its political gains.
“Only the Muslims from Bangladesh don’t infiltrate; there are others also who do it. Ask the BJP about it and how they are supportive of it”, she alleged.
The BJP, as part of its blueprint for the forthcoming Assembly election, has decided to put an end to illegal infiltration from Bangladesh and party president Amit Shah had stated that while Hindus and Buddhists, who immigrated to India illegally, will be eventually given citizenship, the Muslims will be asked to leave.
The TMC, during its election campaign had roped in popular Bangladeshi actors to campaign for the party in border areas while the BJP had relied from votes of the illegal Hindu emigrants from Bangladesh.