Updated: August 10, 2021 5:51:17 am
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday slammed Union Home Minister Amit Shah over last week’s attacks on Trinamool Congress national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee and two party youth leaders in Tripura, an assertion the BJP dismissed as baseless.
Reacting to Banerjee’s allegation that “everything happened in front of the police”, and that no medical aid was even provided to the injured TMC workers, Bengal BJP general secretary Sayantan Basu said, “The allegations against the Union Home Minister are baseless. Going by her logic, she should be held responsible for post-poll violence and murders of BJP workers in West Bengal. Our CM should be the last person to talk about political violence.”
Bengal BJP chief spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said, “Whatever she said about Amit Shah, we leave it to the judgement of the people. The BJP has not become so intellectually bankrupt that it has to react to such allegations. The TMC is an insignificant force in Tripura.”
Speaking to the media after visiting some of the injured party workers at Kolkata’s SSKM Hospital on Monday, Mamata Banerjee said, “The BJP is a monstrous party. From Assam to Uttar Pradesh, we were not allowed inside. Abhishek was provided with a bulletproof vehicle, or else he would have been badly injured.”
She also said, “Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb does not have so much courage (to allegedly get TMC leaders attacked). I firmly believe that the instructions came from Amit Shah and the Union Home Ministry.”
Abhishek Banerjee’s convoy was attacked on August 2 while he was on way to a temple in Tripura’s Gomati district, while TMC youth workers Jaya Dutta and Sudip Raha were injured in an attack at Ambassa, in Dhalai district, about 90 km from Agartala, on Saturday. The TMC alleges the ruling BJP in Tripura was behind both incidents.
“Whenever Abhishek boards a plane, five ruffians are placed in seats around him. His life is in danger,” the Bengal CM and TMC chief alleged. “Instructions have been sent to Tripura so that we cannot hire planes and helicopters.”
Reacting to this, BJP’s Bhattacharya said, “If the Chief Minister claims that goons are boarding planes to pose a threat to Abhishek Banerjee, her police force is free to arrest them at Kolkata airport. What is stopping them?”
Banerjee also accused BJP of preventing TMC delegations from visiting NRC-affected people in Assam, and an alleged rape victim’s family in Hathras in Uttar Pradesh. She said, “BJP leaders talk about democracy during their visits to West Bengal but reveal their true colours in states they rule.”
On the attacks on other party leaders, Banerjee said, “The car carrying our youth leaders Debangshu Bhattacharya, Jaya Dutta, and Sudip Raha was pelted with stones. Its windshield was smashed and even shots were fired — everything occurred in front of police. Before being arrested, our youth leaders were assaulted in front of police personnel. Raha has sustained a serious head injury; Dutta’s face has swollen from shrapnel injuries.”
She added, “They (police) are so inhuman that they did not arrange for their treatment, or even give them water for 36 hours.”
Raha, Dutta, and Bhattacharya were in Tripura as part of TMC’s preparations for 2023 Assembly polls. The attack on them occurred while they were on their way to Dharmanagar in North Tripura district.
In a separate incident the same day, the TMC alleged that shots were fired and one of their offices was vandalised in Dharmanagar. Trinamool supporters led by former MLA Subal Bhowmik staged a road blockade in Dharmanagar to protest against the attack, allegedly by BJP supporters.
On Sunday morning, 14 TMC leaders and workers, including Raha and Dutta, were arrested for allegedly violating pandemic restrictions by travelling after 7 pm, when the 10-hour curfew begins in Tripura. They were also charged under non-bailable sections of IPC. The 14 were produced in a court, which dropped all criminal charges and granted them bail on Monday.
(With PTI inputs)
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