West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday accused the BJP-led governments at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh of being dictatorial and “torturing Dalits, minority communities and farmers”.
At a protest rally here against the Hathras murder and alleged gangrape, Banerjee said the BJP was a “pandemic” that was torturing Dalits the most. The TMC chief said she would stand by Dalits till the end, and added that her caste is “humanity”. She also claimed that she does not believe in discrimination on the basis of caste and religion. Banerjee’s comments came a day after a delegation of the party’s MPs, led by Derek O’Brien, was not allowed to enter the village in Hathras where the incident occurred.
“Covid is a pandemic, but the biggest pandemic is the BJP. It is a pandemic of atrocities and I will support every effort to stop it. What do you [BJP] think, your police will not let us meet the family? I can meet the family tomorrow, and you won’t even know. The daughter of Hathras is our daughter. If we are to brighten the country’s future, we have to stand beside Dalits and minority communities…Today, I am not a Hindu, I am a Dalit.”
This was the first protest rally that the Chief Minister participated in since the anti-CAA and NRC marches earlier this year. The TMC chief and her party workers walked two kilometres from Birla Planetarium to Gandhi statue on Mayo Road as slogans against the Modi government rent the air.
“During elections, the BJP leaders go to a Dalit house, get food from outside, eat it and claim they have eaten in a Dalit home. After elections, they will torture Dalits, thrash them. BJP has brought shame to the country. Shame shame on BJP for what has happened to our daughter. I wanted to talk with the Hathras victim’s family on the phone, but their phone had been snatched,” said Banerjee.
She added, “A dictatorship is going on across the country. Instead of government for the people, it is running a government against people, Dalits, and farmers. I feel like going to Hathras and meeting the victim’s family members; what has happened is condemnable. For me, my caste is humanity and I will stand by Dalit brothers and sisters.”
The Chief Minister said any attempt to speak about the welfare of Muslims gets labelled as “Muslim appeasement”. “Who are you [BJP] to give a certificate? You saw the drama in Mumbai. We want justice for Dalits, not drama,” she added.
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