Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Thursday claimed law and order in West Bengal had deteriorated, and the police were not functioning in accordance with rules.
The Governor urged Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to find time and interact with him on the matter. Dhankhar alleged that Opposition MPs and MLAs were being targeted by the police, which, according to him, “acts as workers of the ruling party”.
“As governor of the state, I am extremely worried of the alarming decline in the law and order situation in my state. Public representatives and opposition party leaders are virtually hunted out of public speech by the state police. This is undemocratic. This is not proper conduct. In such a situation when I find members of Parliament and MLAs so ill-treated by the state police in a partisan manner, I thought it fit to invite the attention of the honourable Chief Minister to this grim situation, to this alarming decline, to this undemocratic stance in our state.”
Dhankhar had expressed concern about the situation in the state at a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah earlier this week.
His latest statements came over a week after MLA and BJP leader Debendra Nath Roy was found hanging from the ceiling of a veranda outside a closed shop near his home in Uttar Dinajpur district.
The police claimed a suicide note was found in his pocket, and the autopsy report said there was no sign of any physical injury. The BJP and Roy’s family have claimed he was murdered, and demanded a thorough investigation by a central investigation agency.
“I request the honourable Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to spare time and interact with me on this worrisome spectacle. I am sure she will give it highest priority. We cannot afford to have a police that does not act in accordance with law but acts in a partisan manner like a political worker of the ruling party. I have repeatedly warned the police that it is their obligation to work only according to law and follow their conduct rules. I am sure they will listen to my voice and avoid acting in a partisan manner (sic),” Dhankhar said in a video posted on Twitter.
On Wednesday, state BJP vice-president Raju Banerjee and other party leaders were arrested for allegedly violating social-distancing norms during a demonstration in the district. The BJP had planned to organise a three-day sit-in in Raiganj to demand justice for a girl whose death had triggered violence in Uttar Dinajpur district on Sunday.
However, the police did not allow the saffron party to hold the sit-in, and dismantled the makeshift dais. Unperturbed, Banerjee began addressing party workers from the same place. According to the police, Banerjee and the BJP workers did not maintain social-distancing norms.
On Thursday, Banerjee was produced in a court in the district that granted him bail on a Rs 10,000 bond. Sources in the police said two cases had been registered against Banerjee — for blocking NH-31 on Sunday, and for unlawful assembly during the event.
State BJP general secretary Sayantan Basu lashed out at the police for arresting Banerjee.
“The police arrested our state vice-president Raju Banerjee to throttle our movement. The police are acting in a partisan manner to stop the BJP. This is a glaring example of the deterioration of law and order in the state,” he said.
Basu also announced that BJP workers would stage a demonstration outside CESC offices across the state to protest against inflated electricity bills for June sent to consumers.
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