COVID-19 being hyped to divert attention from Delhi riots: Mamata Banerjee

The West Bengal CM said people who died in Delhi did not die due to ‘coronavirus, dengue or swine flu’.

Updated - March 04, 2020 09:30 pm IST

Published - March 04, 2020 04:43 pm IST - Kolkata

West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee. File

West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee. File

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday alleged that a section of the media was playing up the spread of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to deflect public attention from the Delhi riots.

Addressing a rally at Buniyaadpur in Dakshin Dinajpur district of north Bengal the Trinamool Congress chairperson accused the media of ‘playing up’ the outbreak of COVID-19.

Also read: Delhi violence ‘one-sided, well-planned’, says minorities panel | Delhi violence a matter of great shame: Harsh Mander

“Today, a lot of people are shouting corona, corona, a bit too much. Yes, certainly it is a disease, and the entire world is concerned about it. But do not make people panicky,” she said.

Ms. Banerjee said that the people who died in Delhi did not die due to “coronavirus, dengue or swine flu”.

“Some channels are playing it up in an effort to make people forget the incidents of Delhi. Do report when it occurs. We don’t want it to spread. We don’t want a single person to be infected in Bengal by the disease. But do remember, all those who died in Delhi did not die of coronavirus, dengue, encephalitis or swine flu,” she added.

The Chief Minister said had those people in Delhi “died of the virus we would have at least known they died due to a dreaded disease for which there is no remedy or cure”.

Also read: Delhi violence | In times of distress, humanity shines

She reiterated that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre had not “expressed any remorse or said sorry” about the deaths of so many people in Delhi. “Instead of that they are organising a rally here and saying ‘ goli maaro ...’ [They should] keep in mind that Bengal is not Delhi,” she said.

Clarifies remark

Ms. Banerjee also clarified the remarks she had made about “Bangladeshis” on Tuesday and warned the media that she would take legal action if her words were distorted.

“After 1947, when people came as refugees to India, there was a Liaquat-Nehru Pact. According to that, those who came to India as refugees are Indian citizens,” she said, referring to the understanding signed in 1950 by the then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his Pakistani counterpart Liaquat Ali Khan.

Ms. Banerjee also cited The India-Bangladesh Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Peace signed in 1972 between Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her Bangladesh counterpart Mujibur Rahman after the creation of Bangladesh.

“I have only spoken in that light. Have I said anything wrong?,” she said, threatening legal action if her words were distorted.

“All those who came to India from Bangladesh and voted in Indian elections were citizens of the country, and don’t need to apply afresh for citizenship,” she had said addressing a rally at Kaliaganj on Tuesday.

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