Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday installed a new bust of 19th-century social reformer Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar at the college where an old one was vandalised during a roadshow of BJP president Amit Shah last month.
The chief minister also unveiled an 8.5-ft pristine white fibre-glass statue of Vidyasagar in the courtyard of the college.
After unveiling the bust near Hare school, which was then transferred to Vidyasagar College, Banerjee said altogether 10 people were killed in post-poll violence in the state and eight of them belonged to her party — the Trinamool Congress (TMC).
The other two are BJP supporters, she said.
“Every death is unfortunate. I will ask the chief secretary to provide assistance from the disaster management fund to the families of the 10 deceased,” Banerjee said, adding all the deaths will be investigated.
Post-poll violence has been reported from various places of West Bengal after the BJP secured 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state, just four less than that of the TMC.
Clashes between the ruling TMC and the BJP took place in several districts, including North 24 Parganas, Coochbehar, Howrah and West Burdwan, resulting in many deaths and injuries. The saffron party leaders are claiming that they would dethrone TMC in the legislative assembly in 2021.
Claiming that the BJP is “planning to turn Bengal into Gujarat”, she said, “I am ready to go to jail but will not allow it to happen.”
The new bust was unveiled by Banerjee at a programme held near Hare School and then transported in an open jeep to Vidyasagar College, where it was installed at the same place where the vandalised old one was placed.
Eminent poets, writers and senior ministers were also present at the programme.
The shattering of the bust led to bitter recrimination, with both Banerjee and Shah accusing each other’s party workers of vandalism.
On Monday, the West Bengal chief minister had accused the Centre and the BJP of engineering violence in the state to topple her government, a charge denied by the saffron party.
A wounded tigress is more dangerous, the feisty TMC supremo had said.
Amid spiralling violence in the state, West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister Amit Shah in the national capital and apprised them of the situation in the state.
Asked about the possibility of imposition of President’s rule in West Bengal, he had said there was no such discussion during his meetings.
The Centre had on Sunday expressed “deep concern” over continuing violence in West Bengal, saying the “unabated violence” even after the Lok Sabha polls appeared to be a failure on part of the state government.
In an advisory to the state government, the Ministry of Home Affairs also asked it to maintain law and order, peace and public tranquillity.
Unhappy with the advisory, Banerjee stepped up attack on the Centre, saying the violence was a “planted game… The central government and (BJP) party cadre are trying to incite violence in West Bengal.”
The Trinamool Congress also wrote a letter to Shah objecting to the advisory and termed it a “deep-rooted conspiracy” and an “evil ploy to grab power” in opposition-ruled states.
The BJP has, however, said it would not demand President’s Rule in West Bengal even though “a lawless situation prevails” in the state as Banerjee would then seek sympathy votes, and vowed to “defy” her ban on its political programmes, including victory processions.
In one of the worst post-poll clashes in the state on Saturday, three persons were killed and some others are claimed to be missing at Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas district.
The BJP observed a black day in the state and held a bandh in Basirhat sub-division of the district on Monday in protest against the death of two of its supporters. A TMC worker was also killed in the incident.
Senior BJP leader Mukul Roy Tuesday blamed Mamata Banerjee for the violence in Sandeshkhali, saying her speeches “fuelled” the attacks on supporters of the saffron party.
Roy, who was once the number two in the Trinamool Congress, switched over to the saffron camp in 2017 and is considered as a key strategist behind the stupendous performance of the BJP in the state.
Barrackpore: At least two people were killed and three others severely injured in Bengal when bombs were hurled at them late Monday night.
This incident took happened in the Kankinara area of West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district, police said Tuesday.
The Bengal’s local political party, the Trinamool claimed that the victims were supporters of the party and were targeted by miscreants hired by the BJP, a charge denied by the saffron party.
The two deceased were identified as Mohammed Mukhtar and Mohammed Halim, police said.
Three people have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the incident, they added.
Bengal minister and Trinamool’s district president Jyotipriya Mallick alleged that the victims were targeted by miscreants hired by the BJP because they had voted for the ruling party in the State in the recently-concluded Lok Sabha elections.
BJP MP of Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency Arjun Singh, however, rubbished the allegations, saying that the incident was the result of a family feud and has no connection with politics.
West Bengal: Two people killed, four injured in an explosion in Kankinara area (North 24 Parganas) last night. Locals says, "Unidentified miscreants lobbed a crude bomb last night. We are scared. There also have been robberies in the area. Demand administration to help us." pic.twitter.com/VxIdl3gAAs
— ANI (@ANI) June 11, 2019
The incident took place on the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday at around 1 AM in Baruipara, which is part of the Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency, when family members of Mukhtar were sitting outside, officials said.
“Halim died on the spot, while Mukhtar succumbed at the hospital. A critically injured Mukhtar’s wife is undergoing treatment at a nearby hospital along with two others,” a senior police officer said.
Following the incident, a huge number of policemen, along with RAF personnel, have been deployed in the area.
When contacted, State ADG (Law and Order) Gyanwant Singh said he was collecting detailed information about the incident.
Meanwhile, the BJP claimed on Monday night that a supporter of the party was strangled to death allegedly for chanting “Jai Shri Ram” by workers of the Trinamool Congress in the State’s Howrah district.
Though police confirmed the death of 43-year-old Samatul Doloi, whose body was found in a field in Sarpota village under the Amta Police Station limits, officers were tight-lipped about the cause of the death.