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Bengal BJP chief courts controversy over remarks against anti-CAA protesters

Dilip Ghosh

Dilip Ghosh  

Dilip Ghosh’s comments on shooting protesters irresponsible, say Babul Supriyo and other BJP leaders

The remarks of BJP West Bengal president Dilip Ghosh justifying the killing of some of those protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act triggered an outrage on Monday. Leaders of his own party called them “irresponsible”.

“See, our government in Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka has shot them [the protesters] like dogs, put them behind bars and also filed cases against them,” Mr. Ghosh is heard saying in a video. Continuing his argument that “infiltrators” should be treated with raw power, he added, “They will come here, eat, stay, and then destroy property. Do they think this is their zamindari? We will hit them with sticks, shoot them and also sent them to jail.” 

Mr. Ghosh made the remark at a party meeting in Nadia district on Sunday evening. The video, which was not verified, surfaced on Monday. In his speech, he also questioned why there was “neither baton-charge, nor firing, nor any FIR filed against protesters in West Bengal”.

“Is it anybody’s paternal property? The rail tracks, roads, buses and trains were made with the money we pay in tax. You are not taking any action only because they are your voters?” he said, before justifying the killings in the States under the BJP.

Union Minister Babul Supriyo, of the BJP, described Mr. Ghosh’s remarks as a “figment” of imagination. “The BJP, as a party, has nothing to do with what Dilip Ghosh may hv [have] said. It is a figment of his imagination & BJP Govts in UP, Assam hv [have] NEVER EVER resorted to shooting people for whatever reason whatsoever. Very irresponsible of Dilip Da to hv [have] said what he said,” he wrote on Twitter.

However, Mr. Ghosh held his ground after asked about Mr. Supriyo’s reaction. He said, “Our government has done that, and if we get a chance we will do the same in Bengal.” Mr. Supriyo retorted that Mr. Ghosh’s remarks were his personal views. 

Swapan Dasgupta, a Rajya Sabha member of the BJP, retweeted Mr. Supriyo’s tweet, indicating that he did not support Mr. Ghosh’s comments.

Locket Chatterjee, another party MP and head of the BJP’s Mahila Morcha in West Bengal, said, “The BJP does not want anyone to live in fear. The party wants to provide security to all, and this is the vision of our Prime Minister.” 

Trinamool stance

The Trinamool Congress criticised the comments. Its MP Abhishek Banerjee wanted to know whether the remarks were personal, or those of the party. “Although @DilipGhoshBJP correctly characterized his party, his own MP refuting his stance publicly raises serious doubts over his credibility to lead BJP in Bengal. Dilip Babu please let us ALL know if your statements are to be seen as personal opinion or views of your party,” Mr. Banerjee said.

Political observers say the reactions of BJP leaders indicate a power struggle in the party. “Dilip Ghosh is used to making such inflammatory remarks, and this is not the first time he has made remarks aimed at polarising the people. What is interesting is how Bengal BJP MPs have countered them. The larger question is why they did this and whether it indicates a power struggle or strife in Bengal BJP,” Biswanath Chakraborty, political science professor at Rabindra Bharati University, said.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 10:19:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bengal-bjp-chief-courts-controversy-over-remarks-against-anti-caa-protesters/article30554728.ece

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