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Mamata warns of strict action amid vandalism across Bengal over citizenship law

Press Trust of India  |  Kolkata 

Amidst the ongoing violence across West Bengal against the amended Citizenship Act, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday warned of stern action against those involved in vandalising public property, and urged people not to resort to violence.

She also appealed to people to maintain peace and tranquillity and protest democratically.

The opposition parties in the state accused the TMC government of doing nothing to control the situation and "allowing the state to burn".

"Once again I appeal to all not to resort to violence and disturb public order, tranquillity and peace," Banerjee was quoted as saying in a statement issued for the second time on Saturday.

"It must be kept in mind that police stations, railway stations, airports, post offices, government offices, public transport and likes are public property. Vandalising public as well as private property in any form will not be tolerated and will strictly be dealt according to law," she said.

The chief minister urged people not to take law in their own hand.

Do not put up road blockades and rail blockades and create trouble for the common people on the roads, she said, adding that strict action would be taken against those found guilty in creating disturbances.

She also reiterated that the amended Citizenship Act and the proposed country-wide NRC will not not be allowed in the state.

Earlier in the day, the Chief Minister's Office had released a video in which Banerjee appealed for calm.

Senior TMC minister Firhad Hakim accused the BJP of "fuelling protests" across the state.

Banerjee's appeal drew sharp reaction from opposition BJP and CPI(M), which said the state government failed to control the situation.

BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha said if such a situation continues, the party would be left with no option other than seeking imposition of President's rule in the state.

"We never support President's rule, but if such an anarchic situation continues in West Bengal, the Centre would left with no other option but to impose President's rule in the state. We would seek imposition of President's rule in the state," Sinha told reporters here.

"The state government is just a mute spectator as the entire state is burning," he added.

CPI(M) state secretary Surya Kanta Mishra alleged that the TMC "deliberately didn't do anything to control the situation".

"The violence is being deliberately instigated by both TMC and BJP to communally polarize the of Bengal," Mishra said

Protesters torched about five trains, three railway stations and tracks, and at least 25 buses on Saturday amid spiralling violence in West Bengal during the agitation against the amended Citizenship Act.

Protestors mostly targeted railway properties with Murshidabad, Malda and Howrah districts bearing the brunt of their ire. Official sources said public property worth crores of rupees have either been destroyed or looted.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, December 14 2019. 23:05 IST