Updated: April 11, 2021 3:14:22 am
Questioning the CISF’s claim of self-defence in firing on voters in Cooch Behar, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Saturday announced a separate, CID investigation into the incident. While she also said she would be visiting the spot on Sunday, that was before the Election Commission barred all political leaders from entering the Cooch Behar district for the next 72 hours.
Claiming an “undeclared emergency” in Bengal, Mamata called Union Home Minister Amit Shah the main conspirator behind the violence in the Sitalkuchi Assembly constituency, which led to the death of four and suspension of polling in one of the booths. Mamata also slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for giving a clean chit to the security forces in his poll speeches in Bengal on Saturday.
Calling the incident a “shame”, the CM said, “In polling if you kill voters standing in the line, you are killing democracy.”
Addressing rallies in Siliguri and Krishnanagar, Modi accused Mamata of inciting people against the security forces and said this won’t save her from losing the polls. “I have never seen a chief minister train her party workers to attack the security forces,” the PM said. “Didi, this violence, tactics of instigating people to attack the security forces, the tactic of obstructing the polling process, will not protect you… Didi is asking people to attack and gherao security forces who are here to protect the rights of the people of the state.”
Calling the violence in Cooch Behar unfortunate, he urged the Election Commission to conduct a probe and take action against the guilty. Central forces had been deployed in the other states that went to polls too, Modi said, without any such incident. “Actually, the problem is not with the Central forces, Didi. It’s with your politics of violence and rigging. Didi is angry as her goons are unable to do ‘chappa (rig ballots)’ due to the presence of Central forces,” he said.
Addressing a press conference in Siliguri following the firing, Mamata said, “Home Minister Amit Shah is completely responsible for today’s incident and he himself is the conspirator.” Demanding Shah’s resignation, she said she doesn’t blame the Central forces but him as “they work under the Home Minister’s orders”.
On Modi, the CM said, “I never saw such a lying Prime Minister. He came to Siliguri today, he has so much security, he should have gone to the spot, stood by the deceased families… Without any proof he is saying Central forces fired in self-defence.”
Mamata claimed there was no video footage or any other proof to substantiate the claims of the Central forces. “Who was injured on their side?… Is it possible that there is no footage of the incident?”
Announcing a CID probe, she said, “I will not sit idle. I am still the Chief Minister of the state.”
Claiming that unofficially Article 356 or Emergency-like situation is prevailing in West Bengal, Mamata said, “They (the EC) changed the Director General of Police. They changed the ADG, Law and Order, without taking us into confidence. They changed police officers and district magistrates. That is why we are saying this is a pre-planned incident… They (the BJP) are doing these things, trying to create unrest, because they know they will not come to power.”
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