The Trinamool Congress on Thursday launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah over the security situation in Kashmir in the wake of the killing of five labourers from West Bengal in Kulgam by suspected militants.
Seeking to know the purpose of abrogating the special status to J&K, given under Article 370 of the Constitution, TMC minister Firhad Hakim said, “The citizens of this country are being killed and Union Home Minister Amit Shah is silent. What is the use of abolishing Article 370 in the Valley when so many people are getting killed? It means the terror activities have not stopped in the Valley.”
Hakim, who was at the Kolkata airport on late Wednesday night to to receive the bodies of the five labourers before taking them to their native village in Murshidabad district, said, “What was the point of having 56-inch or 72-inch chest if the Union government can’t protect its citizens”, in an apparent reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “56-inch chest” speech.
Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reiterated her demand for a thorough inquiry into the incident, calling it a brutal pre-planned murder.
Maintaining that the Centre was responsible for the law and order situation in the Valley, she said, “In Kashmir, there is now no movement or activity of political parties or press. No MPs of our party can go there. The entire administration belongs to the Central government — the Army and the other central forces… Why were the labourers who were ready to return were killed and especially on a day when a delegation of European MPs visited the Valley?. This should be thoroughly investigated.”
“A BJP leader commented that they were labourers not Bengalis. When people from Gujarat are killed don’t we say Gujaratis died? Why then this shame in calling people from Bengal Bengalis?” she added.
Meanwhile, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh took a dig at the Chief Minister for targeting the Centre over the terrorist attack in Kashmir. “While we criticise Pakistan for such incidents, Mamata Banerjee slams the Central government. She is maintaining this trend. The most unfortunate thing is that labourers from Bengal had to go to Kashmir to earn their livelihood. Instead of accusing the Narendra Modi government of the incident, her government should first ensure that such labourers are not forced to go to other states for work.”
Ghosh went on to equate the killing of labourers with incidents of political violence in the state. “She (Mamata) must look into the law and order situation in West Bengal. Here also, people are being killed. Are they not Bengalis?”