A day after two FIRs were filed for his remark that people protesting against the new citizenship law “were shot like dogs” in BJP-ruled states, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh on Wednesday stood by his comment, saying he was not bothered about the criticism and repeated that if his party comes to power, “we will shoot protesters destroying public properties”.
“I stick to my comments. I am not bothered about the criticism. Whatever I have said is in favour of the country… The Trinamool Congress and Congress are criticising me. They too have opened fire on protesters on various occasions… The Siddhartha Shankar Ray government killed many Naxals in the 1970s. Those who were part of that government and now are MLAs are giving lectures on non-violence. (Chief Minister) Mamata Banerjee went to hills and threatened Gorkhas. Her police killed 11 people there. Even the Communists killed six Forward Bloc workers. I am saying it again that it is the duty of the state government to protect public properties from vandals. If needed it will take every necessary step to safeguard public properties. I have said that if we come to power in Bengal, we will take action in the interest of the country.”
“Political leaders from different parties have opposed my views. They are free to do it. Public properties worth crores were destroyed in Bengal but not a single person was arrested… I had said people should be shot if they destroy public properties. If we come to power, then we will shoot these protesters,” he added.
On Sunday, Ghosh, while addressing a rally in Nadia district, warned those protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, saying, “In states like Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka, our (BJP’s) governments shot them like dogs, dragged them away and even slapped cases. You will come here, eat here and destroy government property here? Is it your zamindari? We will hit you with lathis, shoot you, and put you in jail.”
On Tuesday, a complaint was filed at Habra police station in North 24 Parganas district, which the police said was being treated as an FIR. The second complaint has been filed by a TMC leader in Ranaghat area of Nadia.
After Ghosh repeated his remark on Tuesday, the Trinamool Congress linked it to the BJP’s internal election set to be held on Thursday in which the party’s state unit is set to choose its president for three years. Ghosh has filed his nomination for the post and is likely to get another term.
“I think an internal election within the BJP is around and that’s why he is making such comments to get some brownie points. He wants to be the party’s state president again. So this will continue for the next two to three days,” TMC secretary-general Partha Chatterjee said as he slammed the BJP leader for his remark.
Meanwhile, the Binay Tamang faction of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) condemned Ghosh’s remarks on killing of Gorkhas. “We strongly condemn the statement made by Dilip Ghosh in which he has called the 11 martyrs, who had sacrificed their lives during the 2017 agitation, as anti-social elements rightly shot by the police for vandalising government property. He has also indicated that Gorkhas are foreigners and has likened the Gorkhas to dogs. His statement is proof enough of the BJP’s attitude towards the Gorkhas in West Bengal,” Tamang said in a statement. “If Dilip Ghosh doesn’t take back his words, then we will come out on the roads in protest,” Tamang said.
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