Governor Criticises Mamata Banerjee Over Mob Justice, Trinamool Hits Back

In sharp criticism of the Mamata Banerjee government over incidents of mob justice in West Bengal, Governor CV Ananda Bose said an “MB cocktail” is marring the law and order situation in the state. The Governor had today planned to visit the woman, who was publicly flogged in Uttar Dinajpur district’s Chopra over an extramarital affair. But he put off the plan after state police told him that the woman wants to be left alone for now.

“I was informed that the victim expressly desired to be left alone. I value those sentiments. The victim can meet me anytime she wants. She can come to the Raj Bhavan or I can come. Not for the time-being,” he told the media when asked about his cancelled visit.

The Governor then said that he had met several victims of violence recently. “From my discussions, and sharing of experience of the victims who met me, I have come to the realisation that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Bengal is not a safe place for women to live in,” he said in scathing criticism of the state government.

The incident in Chopra came to light after a chilling video that shows a woman and a man being assaulted in public went viral. The assailant, Tajemul, has since been arrested. Opposition parties BJP and CPM have alleged that the accused is a key aide of local Trinamool MLA Hamidur Rahman. The Trinamool has said no one involved in the incident will be spared.

In his interaction with the media, the Governor said it is a “very dismal situation” in many parts of Bengal. “Money power, political power, governmental power and brute power. It is a heady cocktail. As people say, Molotov cocktail. This is a kind of MB cocktail which is marring the situation in Bengal. Violence has become a norm rather than exception. Responsibility for this lies squarely on the Home Minister, the police minister and the police. It is up to the authorities and the government to ensure that the life of citizens are protected,” he said. Ms Banerjee holds Home portfolio in Bengal government. 

Molotov cocktail refers to an incendiary weapon that comprises a container full of flammable substance and has a fuse. While using, the fuse is lit and the container thrown at the target. When the container shatters on impact, a fire starts.

Amid the outrage over the Chopra incident, Leader of the Opposition in Bengal Assembly, BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari has posted another video and alleged that Tajemul is an accused in this case too. The video shows a man and a woman tied up with a rope as other men assault them.

“Episode 2 of Street Justice. Featuring TMC Leader Tajimul alias ‘JCB’ as Judge, Jury & Executioner. Just another day in Mamata Banerjee’s Bengal, where conventions of ‘Muslim Rashtra’ are followed at will,” Mr Adhikari has said.

The Governor has asked the state government for a report on the Chopra incident. The National Human Rights Commission, too, has taken note and sought a report from the Chief Secretary and state police chief.

Earlier, local MLA Rahman’s remarks after the incident had fuelled the public outcry. Speaking about the public flogging, the MLA had admitted that what happened was wrong, but said the woman was of “bad character”.

The MLA has trashed the BJP’s allegations that the accused is a member of the Trinamool Congress and close to him.

Trinamool spokesperson Dr. Shantanu Sen has said, “Trinamool Congress as a party and our government in no way supports any activity like the one which has happened in Chopra. Police have taken suo motu cognizance and they are taking action.

Responding to the Governor’s criticism of Ms Banerjee, Trinamool leader Kunal Ghosh has said the Governor had used “cheap language” against the Chief Minister. 

Bengal Governor Biman Banerjee has, meanwhile, criticised the Governor for not clearing the West Bengal (Prevention of Lynching) Bill. He said that if the Governor had given his assent to this law, incidents of mob violence wouldn’t have happened in Bengal. “There would have been some fear and they wouldn’t have dared. This Bill was passed in 2019. It is unfortunate that we did not receive any information from the Governor or the President,” he said.

Police have said the man and the woman who were flogged in public have been provided security. “Efforts are being made from certain quarters to spread misinformation about an incident in Chopra PS under Islampur PD. The fact is, police has promptly identified and arrested one person who had publicly assaulted a lady,” they have said.

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