A day after the BJP alleged that three of its MPs were stopped by the state police from distributing relief materials, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar sought Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha’s response on the matter. The Governor termed the police action an act of “illegal coercive containment”.
Barrackpore MP Arjun Singh was stopped by the police from visiting his constituency’s Amdanga locality on Thursday, while Alipurduar MP John Barla, and the parliamentarian from Jalpaiguri, Jayanta Kumar Roy, were stopped and effectively placed under house arrest earlier this week, the saffron party has claimed.
The government also filed a case against the BJP MP from Bankura, Subhash Sarkar, Thursday for allegedly spreading rumours about the deaths of two people.
“I am deeply concerned at media reports, as also from direct inputs to me, through MPs, that their legitimate activities to play an affirmative role as representatives of the people to alleviate their suffering in the present challenging scenario, are being adversely impacted by outrageous politically motivated steps of the police and administration,” a Raj Bhavan statement quoted the Governor as saying.
The Governor said apart from Barla, Sarkar and Arjun Singh, Darjeeling MP Raju Bista had also reported that the ruling Trinamool Congress was behind this.
“They [the MPs] have sought strict action against the officials who are committing major misconduct by aligning with the ruling party, and playing political games,” Dhankhar added.
The Governor said the police and state administration cannot dictate the MPs’ actions, adding: “Such an activity by them is prohibited by applicable service law regime and amounts to major misconduct.”
Dhankhar said he was concerned about the situation in West Bengal. “Even otherwise, I have noticed that police in the state is heavily politicised and is ever in ‘invitation mode’ to entertain complaints against public representatives who do not belong to the ruling party, and desist from entertaining cases against the members of the ruling party,” he added.
The Governor pointed out that the Centre and Parliament had issued several directives regarding how MPs should be treated. Criticising the state government, Dhankhar said: “Such illegal coercive containment of their activities at this critical time will spell not only a worrisome spectacle for COVID 19 battle but would also lower down the morale of the people.”
The Governor directed Rajiva Sinha to send “a firm directive to all the District Magistrates and senior police officials”, asking them to abide by the law, and not bow to political pressure.
Dhankhar also sought a status report from “concerned DMs/senior police officials” about the matters raised by the four MPs.
“Curtailment of liberty of the MPs as indicated by them and as reported in the media, be forthwith undone, and update be indicated,” added the Raj Bhavan statement.