Opposition parties in West Bengal and most prominently the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have slammed the Mamata Banerjee government for indulging in “appeasement politics”. The state unit of the BJP has been demanding President’s Rule for the “deteriorating” law and order in the state. The West Bengal government on Saturday ordered a judicial probe into the communal violence in Basirhat. Making the announcement, Mamata Banerjee said a sitting or a former Calcutta High Court Judge would be entrusted with the probe.
The BJP has also accused the Trinamool Congress (TMC) of working as an “agent” of the Jamaat and jihadi (terrorist) elements in the state.
Sayantan Basu, BJP’s West Bengal state secretary, told The Sunday Guardian, “The TMC is a party that openly works for the minority community in the state. The appeasement politics of the Mamata Banerjee government in Bengal is giving rise to jihadis and providing them courage to carry out anti-social work inside the state. They have found Bengal as their safe haven to carry out their propaganda and jihadi activities.”
While addressing a press conference in Kolkata earlier this week, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is currently engaged in a tussle with Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi over the ongoing communal unrest in the state, had accepted that her government has been giving “protection” to the minority community,
During the press conference, she said, “The community that has started ransacking since yesterday, I had to hear a lot for you… The Maa Mati Manush government is giving you a lot of protection and has given you all a lot of protection even earlier, but now if you all do like this, then understand that Mamata Banerjee is not for any one community, but for all humans.”
The Basirhat riots in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district follow last year’s riots in Dhulagarh, Kaliachak, Deganga and Burdwan in which hundreds of people were assaulted and molested, shops burnt, homes torched and temples desecrated by violent mobs belonging to the minority community. The BJP has also accused the Bengal government of not using the Centre’s paramilitary forces which were rushed into the Basirhat area after the situation went out of control. “The government is not using the paramilitary personnel and the force that arrived in Basirhat has been kept reserved at the various police stations in the sub-division. They (the force) are not being taken into the interior areas where incidents of violence are still being reported. The paramilitary force is being asked to conduct flag marches only in the town areas of Basirhat and Baduria. It is the police that should take them there to control the situation,” Sayantan Basu added.
An angry mob had earlier attacked the Basirhat police station and ransacked public property and torched several police vehicles. They also assaulted the Additional SP of North 24 Parganas on Tuesday afternoon and manhandled the SP. However, on Saturday, the SP was transferred. On Friday, a delegation from the Bengal unit of the BJP, as well as teams from other opposition parties of West Bengal, was stopped at Michael Nagar, some 50 km ahead of Basirhat by the Bengal police who did not allow them to proceed to the riot-affected area.
Even on Saturday, a delegation of some senior BJP leaders, chosen by the party’s national president Amit Shah, was stopped by the local police in Madhyamgram, some 50 km ahead of Basirhat, fearing that the team’s visit to the affected area could incite fresh violence. The situation remained tense on Saturday as schools and colleges remained closed and internet services remained suspended. Four additional BSF companies were sent to Basirhat on Saturday to take control of the situation.