West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on June 28 lashed out at the BJP-led Centre over the arrest of Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair and social activist Teesta Setalvad for “trying to expose the truth” and wondered how those who spread hatred among communities are roaming free.
Addressing a party meeting in Asansol in Paschim Bardhaman district, Ms. Banerjee also attacked the Centre over the Agnipath defence recruitment scheme, calling it a “major scam and another example of Jumla politics” ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
“Why have you arrested Mohammed Zubair and Teesta Setalvad? What wrong have they done? Does speaking out the truth or exposing the truth a crime? Those who are speaking out against this government are either harassed by using agencies or are arrested,” Ms. Banerjee said.
In an apparent reference to controversial remarks by suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma on Prophet Muhammad, she alleged that those who spread hatred and violence in the country are not being arrested.
“Those who spread hatred and violence in the country are not being arrested; no action is being taken. Those who create animosity among communities are not even touched by them [BJP]. But those who fight against such people are being harassed,” she said.
Speaking on the Agnipath scheme, Ms. Banerjee said the Centre must extend the retirement age of soldiers recruited under it to 60 years, claiming that they would stare at an uncertain future at the end of the four-year contract.
“Recently I received a communication where I was requested that those Agniveers, after four years, should get the opportunity in state government jobs. It is a mess created by the Centre, and they have to clean it. We will not take the onus,” she said.