West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, in an apparent jibe at state BJP leaders, said on Monday that those threatening of more Cooch Behar-like killings should be banned politically. She wondered what kind of human beings are politicians who say that there will be more Sitalkuchi-like incidents and that the death toll should have been higher.
Four people were killed in CISF firing after they “attempted to snatch the rifles of the central forces” while voting was underway in Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar district in the fourth phase on Saturday, sparking a political storm in the state. “Some political leaders are threatening of more Sitalkuchi-like incidents, while others are saying that the death toll should have been higher. I am stunned and shocked to see such reactions. What are these leaders up to? They should be politically banned,” Banerjee said, while addressing an election rally at Ranaghat in Nadia district.
BJP leaders were seen referring to the Cooch Behar killings and threatening that more such incidents may happen if “naughty boys” take the law into their hands and that more than four people should have been killed in the firing. Banerjee alleged that the BJP is killing its own workers and leaders and damaging their vehicles “to bring a bad name to the TMC”.
“Before conspiring to kill four persons in CISF firing, the BJP, a party of murderers, killed a Rajbongshi brother,” she said. Apart from the four people who were killed in CISF firing, another man was shot dead outside a polling booth by unidentified persons in the same Sitalkuchi assembly constituency area.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah has alleged that Banerjee paid tributes only to the four persons killed in CISF firing because they were from the minority community. Accusing the BJP of communalising the murder of young voters on polling day, Banerjee said, “You cannot succeed in your nefarious game to divide the people of West Bengal. This is not Uttar Pradesh or Gujarat.” Alleging that Shah had hatched the conspiracy of Cooch Behar killings with the full knowledge of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the feisty TMC leader said, “After returning to power, I will order a probe to unravel the sequence of events, who were involved, how it all started, whether any rumour was at play…everything.” She urged people not to vote for a party that encourages “firing on voters standing in a queue”.
Claiming that her government has given land rights to people settled in refugee colonies in the state, the chief minister said, “The BJP has sent 14 lakh Bengalis in Assam to detention camps. The same fate may await you if they come to power in West Bengal.” She asserted that though she is a Brahmin woman and a devout Hindu who knows mantras by heart, caste identity is not important to her. “I consider myself inseparable from Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, SCs, STs, OBCs and all other communities. We don’t exclude anyone in the name of caste, community or religion. Unlike the BJP, we consider everyone as humans,” she said.
“One of the BJP MPs, contesting the assembly polls, has herself damaged the windscreen of her car to give a bad name to the TMC,” she said, in an apparent reference to an incident in which the car of saffron party leader Locket Chatterjee was damaged during a TMC protest in Chunchura assembly seat.