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Paramilitary forces should be called to assist police in arson-hit places of West Bengal: Suvendu Adhikari

BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari. File

BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari. File | Photo Credit: PTI

West Bengal BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari on June 13 alleged that there is inaction by the Mamata Banerjee government to check incidents of loot and arson in the State over alleged derogatory comments on Prophet Muhammad and said the paramilitary forces should be called to assist the police to contain the violence.

Mr. Adhikari, who led a sit-in at the entrance of the Assembly Hall along with six suspended BJP MLAs, told reporters that there should be a high-level meeting by the Chief Secretary, the Director General of Police, Home Secretary and top bureaucrats on an emergency basis in view of the situation in the State.

"We are all peace lovers ... Unruly hooligan elements should be dealt with sternly. The bureaucracy has to be more pro-active and not work at the behest of one political party or its leaders, but in an impartial manner," Mr. Adhikari, who is the Leader of Opposition said.

Protests against remarks on Prophet Mohammad by two suspended BJP functionaries had turned violent in Howrah, Murshidabad and Nadia, prompting the administration to suspend internet services and restrict movement of people.

Mr. Adhikari, who was not allowed to visit trouble-torn pockets of Howrah on Sunday, said that police should be accompanied by Central paramilitary forces to restore peace in the troubled pockets in the three districts.

Asked whether an all party meeting will be held to discuss the situation, Mr. Adhikari said “This (TMC) government does not believe in accommodating the Opposition. It undemocratically suspended seven of our MLAs, including the Leader of the Opposition to crush any dissenting opinion.”

He continued his attack saying, "It [the TMC government] does not believe in democracy. It knows only appeasement politics." Therefore, there is no merit and meaning in attending any all party meeting, which if it takes place, will be "only a farce", he said.

Mr. Adhikari who also took a jibe at CPI(M) leader Md Salim and Congress leader Adhir Chowdhury for their "obsession with secularism." "Where is Salim now?" he asked in an apparent reference to the Marxist leader's advocacy for an alliance with Indian Secular Front of Abbas Siddique before the 2021 Assembly polls.

Mr. Adhikari, along with suspended BJP legislators Shankar Ghosh, Manoj Tigga and Narahari Mahato were present at the sit-in on the steps of the main gate to the assembly hall. He and six others were suspended by Speaker Biman Banerjee in March on the charge of violating the decorum of the house and exchanging fisticuffs with the ruling TMC MLAs for the entire session till the House is prorogued.

"This government is taking away our right to voice grievances of the public. It is not allowing people's representatives to take up issues relating to them. It has debarred the Leader of Opposition from Assembly proceedings. We are therefore forced to sit outside the Assembly Hall this way," the BJP leader said.

The other lawmakers of the saffron party will, however, continue to attend the session and not allow the Mamata Banerjee government to hide its failures, he said. The suspended BJP MLAS shouted slogans of "Shame to the CM" against Mamata Banerjee for the loot and arson in the State.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2022 6:22:59 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/paramilitary-forces-should-be-called-to-assist-police-in-arson-hit-places-of-west-bengal-suvendu-adhikari/article65523120.ece