Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday accused the BJP of communalising the deaths of five voters in Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar district last Saturday and said the Election Commission (EC) should ban two of the Opposition party’s leaders for calling for more such killings.
Four voters in Sitalkuchi block’s Jorpatki village were shot dead by Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel during the fourth phase of polling, while an 18-year-old voter from the Rajbongshi community was gunned down outside another polling station. On Sunday, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh said incidents similar to the one in Jorpatki would reoccur if “dushtu chhelera [bad boys]” do not behave themselves. At another public meeting, his party colleague Rahul Sinha said, “Not four [but] eight people should have been shot dead in Sitalkuchi.”
At a rally in Ranaghat in Nadia district, Banerjee said, “Some political leaders are threatening more Sitalkuchi-like incidents, while others are saying that the death toll should have been higher. I am shocked and stunned. What are these leaders up to? How can one give such a reaction? They should be banned.”
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief urged people not to vote for a party that encourages “firing on voters standing in a queue”.
Banerjee also alleged that Union Home Minister Amit Shah had hatched the conspiracy that led to the Sitalkuchi killings with the full knowledge of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“You cannot succeed in your nefarious game to divide the people of West Bengal. This is not Uttar Pradesh or Gujarat. After returning to power, I will order a probe to unravel the sequence of events, who were involved, how it all started, whether any rumour was at play…everything. The police superintendent of Cooch Behar is not our officer. He was also part of the conspiracy,” Banerjee said, adding, “Modi is the chowkidar of goons and we are the guard of people.”
On Sunday, the TMC chief had termed the incident a “genocide” and laid into the CISF for firing at the crowd that had gathered outside the polling station. According to the armed police force, the mob tried to snatch the weapons of its personnel.
Responding to Amit Shah’s remark that she had paid tribute to only the four killed in CISF firing and not the Rajbongshi youth, Banerjee said, “Before conspiring to kill four persons, the party of murderers, BJP, killed my Rajbongshi brother.”
Labelling BJP leaders as liars, Banerjee said, “One of the BJP MPs, contesting in Assembly polls, herself damaged a window of her car and blamed the TMC.: She was referring to Hooghly MP Locket Chatterjee.
Meanwhile, the TMC chief claimed her government had given land rights to people settled in refugee colonies in the state, and said, “The BJP has sent 14 lakh Bengalis in Assam to detention camps. The same fate may await you if they come to power in West Bengal.”