The Trinamool Congress, Left Front and Congress on Friday condemned the killing of five Bengali-speaking people by suspected ULFA gunmen in Assam’s Tinsukia district on Thursday. The ruling party and CPM workers also took out protest rallies across the state.
While inaugurating a Kali Puja in north Kolkata, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said an “unholy nexus” has gripped the country.
“Yesterday, innocent people were brutally murdered in Tinsukia, Assam; I can see their faces. They belong to the poorest of poor families. Murderers do not discriminate between the rich and poor. I am feeling extremely sad. They are evicting Biharis in Gujarat and Bengalis in Assam. An ominous atmosphere is prevailing in this country in this festive season, which is making me anxious. There is a tinge of grief in our festive spirit,” she said.
Mamata also set her display picture on social media accounts to black as a mark of protest. On Thursday, she had also tweeted, “Terrible news coming out of Assam. We strongly condemn the brutal attack in Tinsukia and the killing of Shyamlal Biswas, Ananta Biswas, Abhinash Biswas, Subodh Das. Is this the outcome of recent NRC development?”
In Kolkata, TMC leaders including the party chief’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee covered their mouths with black scarves and marched from Jadavpur to Hazra crossing. A black banner with “shame” written on it was carried by workers.
Addressing the protesters, Abhishek said, “After yesterday’s incident, we feel that Assam chief minister (Sarbananda Sonowal) should resign from his post. There should be a court-monitored probe into the incident as we cannot rely on CBI which is busy with its own issues,” he said.
The TMC also organised similar protest rallies across the state including in Chinsurah, Arambagh and Dhaniakhali in Hooghly. In a statement, the party also said it would send a delegation to visit the families of the deceased.
Abhishek further slammed the BJP for implementing NRC in Assam. “Who are they (the BJP) to decide on citizenship? The people of this country want a pro-people and secular government at the Centre. We should all put up a united fight to defeat the BJP in 2019. As long as the TMC is in power, there will never be an NRC exercise in Bengal,” he said.
TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said the NRC exercise encouraged extremists to do such a thing. “Yesterday’s killing was an outcome of encouragement given to the extremists through the NRC exercise,” he said.
The CPM too took out a protest rally from Esplanade to Moulali. “If this is the outcome of the NRC exercise, then from where do they (BJP) get the audacity to say that such an exercise will be implemented in Bengal? The BJP should stop saying such things to the people of Bengal,” said CPM leader Sujan Chakraborty.
Echoing similar words, state Congress president Somen Mitra said, “There was no need to carry out an exercise like this and encourage extremists to kill Bengali people. We strongly condemn the incident and the BJP is responsible for this.”
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh described the protests as a double standard of the TMC. “It is unfortunate that people were killed in Assam. Incidentally, they were Bengalis. But we don’t see TMC leaders hitting the streets when Bengalis are killed in Bengal due to political violence. More than 70 people were killed during the panchayat polls. Did the TMC hold protest rallies then? Just because some people have been killed in a BJP-ruled state, they all have to raise their voices and tarnish our image,” he said.