West Bengal Assembly Elections | Mamata speaks to families of Cooch Behar victims over phone, calls it ‘genocide’

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee   | Photo Credit: PTI

Alleging that the order of the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Saturday banning political leaders from visiting Cooch Behar for the next 72 hours was to prevent her from visiting the site, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday spoke to families of people killed in Cooch Behar over telephone.

The Trinamool Congress chairperson called the firing a “genocide” and said no attempt was made to disperse people using non-lethal means. “Each of the deceased have been shot in neck or chest,” she said, adding that the Central Industrial Security Force personnel were not trained to disperse mob. “What harm would it do if I have gone and pacified the people who have lost their family members. This order was to prevent me from going there,” she told journalists at a press conference at Siliguri. Ms. Banerjee, who spoke to families over video calling application, said that she would provide financial help to the families.

Five persons were killed in two separate incidents of firing at Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar during the fourth phase of polling on Saturday. Four persons died when Central forces opened fire at booth number 126 at Jor Patki gram panchayat at Sitalkuchi Assembly seat. Ms. Banerjee said on Saturday that she would visit the village on Sunday. The Trinamool Congress chairperson’s plans to visit Sitalkuchi on April 11 was scuttled because by the ECI order.

Earlier in the day, Ms. Banerjee took to social media expressing strong reservations against ECI’s order saying that the MCC should be renamed ‘Modi Code of Conduct’.

“EC should rename MCC as Modi Code of Conduct! BJP can use all its might but NOTHING in this world can stop me from being with my people & sharing their pain. They can restrict me from visiting my brothers & sisters in Cooch Behar for 3 days but I WILL be there on the 4th day!” Ms. Banerjee said on social media on Sunday.

“In Cooch Behar district comprising of 9ACs (AC numbers 1 to 9) where voting shall be over by today, no political leader from any national, State, or other party should be allowed to enter the geographical boundaries of the district for the next 72 hours. This comes into force with immediate effect,” the ECI order said.

In a strong reaction, former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha, who recently joined the Trinamool Congress, said: “Election Commission has covered itself with mud by stopping Mamata from going to Cooch Behar. After all she is still the CM of Bengal and it is her duty to visit the place of this unfortunate occurrence. We know for certain now that EC is not fair.”

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 11:09:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/mcc-should-be-renamed-modi-code-of-conduct-says-mamata/article34294343.ece

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