Send sweets to RSS chief but ensure there are no riots, Mamata tells police

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during an administrative review meeting in Paschim Medinipur district.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during an administrative review meeting in Paschim Medinipur district. | Photo Credit: PTI

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday told officials to extend the government’s hospitality to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat but also keep a close watch during his visit to the State’s Jangalmahal region. Mr. Bhagwat is scheduled to attend an RSS training camp at Keshiary.

“Why is RSS chief visiting Keshiary from 17-20 [May]? Send sweets and fruits from the administration so that they realise we take good care of guests,” the Chief Minister told police officers during an administrative meeting at Medinipur while instructing them to extend him adequate protection so that there are “no riots”. She also asked the local MLA to monitor the situation.  

Sensitive region

The RSS and its affiliates have set up educational institutions in the Jangalmahal region comprising forested stretches of the Paschim Medinipur, Jhargram, Bankura and Purulia districts. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) performed impressively in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in the region, winning almost all seats. Two years later, however, the Trinamool Congress swept most of the seats there in the Assembly polls. 

The Jangalmahal region has long been a sensitive area with significant presence of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) and years of violence. There have also been reports of CPI(Maoist) posters surfacing in the region recently.

Dwelling on the violence in the region, the Chief Minister blamed “outsiders” for triggering certain incidents.

“They come from outside – guns these days can be brought for ₹2,000 – and they fire shots, and the media shows it all day,” Ms. Banerjee said. She also alleged that there are “arms factories” in Bihar and across the region’s border in Jharkhand.

While Ms. Banerjee has been quite vocal in her opposition to the BJP, some of her political opponents, particularly leaders of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), allege that she has good terms with the RSS leadership.

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Printable version | May 17, 2022 10:13:55 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/send-sweets-to-rss-chief-but-ensure-there-are-no-riots-mamata-tells-police/article65422853.ece