West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has said it is “high time” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee kept her “constitutional oath”. In a letter to the CM on Sunday over the alleged custodial death of a BJP worker, Dhankhar said, “Madam Chief Minister, high time you redeem your constitutional oath and enforce rule of law, ensure democratic governance in the state, make police and administration politically neutral and accountable.”
The Governor’s letter came a day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah said in an interview to CNN-News 18 that the demand for President’s rule in Bengal by BJP workers was “wajib (just)”, given the law and order situation, while adding that any action by the Centre would be as per the Constitution.
Dhankhar said what happened with Madan Ghorai alias Kalipada, of village Kanakpur in East Midnapore, was “yet another horrifying instance of dehumanising torture, assault and death in custody”. “There is outrage at such lawlessness in the state and outside, and consequent to October 8 police excesses, Balwinder Singh is already a poster boy for blatant human right violations in the state.”
The police have said that Ghorai, a BJP booth vice-president, was in judicial custody at a correctional home, and not in its custody, when he died. Ghorai had been arrested from Patashpur in East Medinipur district on September 26 in connection with a kidnapping. The BJP has demanded a CBI probe into his death, which was reported on October 13.
Earlier, on October 8, during a scuffle between BJP workers and the police at a march by party workers to the state secretariat Nabanna, the turban of Balwinder Singh, a bodyguard with a leader, had come off. The BJP had accused the government of hurting religious sentiments.
In his letter, the Governor said there was growing resentment among the people over the “chaos” in the state. Asking Mamata to ensure that the police and administration were “politically neutral” and “accountable”, he said, “… sanitise power corridors of non-state actors and ensure that SSA (State Security Advisor) and Principal Advisor, Internal Security, do not boss over the statutorily structured police apparatus, thereby reducing the DGP and other police officials to abject subordination and to insignificance”.
Dhankhar also urged IAS and IPS officials to be “politically neutral”, saying there could be consequences for being “in breach of conduct”.
With the Governor’s letter just the latest in a long war of words with the state government, the ruling Trinamool accused him of singing the BJP tune.
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