Asserting that the development at Tehatta in Nadia district “was not a minor incident,” West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday justified the police firing that occurred there earlier this week. One person was killed in the police action.
“The government will have to do what it must do,” Ms. Banerjee said at a function here organised by the Kolkata Police.
The Chief Minster also approved of the action taken by the sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) Shailesh, who claimed that protesters attacked his home where his wife and child were alone.
“Can anyone be allowed to enter someone’s home and attack their wife and child? If you were there, what would you have done,” asked Ms. Banerjee, adding that questions remained on the actions of the local police and why the SDPO was left alone.
Ms. Banerjee said the police had to take action because of the riotous situation that had been created as a result of a clash between two communities.
“The colour of fire and the colour of riots are different. Do not play with fire,” Ms. Banerjee cautioned, adding that she had “no tolerance for rioters.”
The Chief Minister also tried to draw a connection between this incident and earlier instances where communal harmony was disrupted in the area.
“I have to cross-check this information, but there was unrest in the area in 1992 and 1996 as well,” she said adding that people had been killed in communal riots in the past. The administration had tried to “combat this tendency,” she added.
“The person who has been killed belonged to which party,” asked Ms. Banerjee even as she reminded the audience that a person’s religion was not his/her identity.
Ms. Banerjee said she was well acquainted with the nature of communal riots as she had roamed the streets that remained deserted when communal riots broke out after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992.
“Those who are involved in riots, I shall not spare them,” she asserted.
Ms. Banerjee assured the people that the law and order situation would be kept under control by the administration and claimed that she had taken prompt action in the recent incident of police firing at Loba village in the Dubrajpur area of Birbhum district.