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'Sinister foreign hand in Bengal unrests, but Centre indifferent': Mamata

Sulagna Sengupta | Updated on: 17 July 2017, 21:50 IST
(AFP photo)

With two geographically and culturally distinct regions of West Bengal currently on the boil, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has shifted the blame on to the Centre, saying it is “indifferent to the sinister role played by foreign forces”.

A few days ago, the Banerjee-led West Bengal government filed an affidavit in the Calcutta High Court, stating that Maoists from Nepal were fomenting trouble in Darjeeling, and the Centre should intervene in this regard.

Now, she has also blamed Central agencies like the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) and the National Investigating Agency (NIA), saying that China and Nepal are responsible for the Gorkhaland fires that have singed the 'Chicken Neck' region of north Bengal, while the communal trouble in Basirhat in the North 24 Parganas district is being caused by Bangladeshi infiltrators as well as RSS-affiliated organisations from this side of the border.

The Basirhat situation

On Monday, Trinamool Congress chief Banerjee chaired a meeting of the party's parliamentary board, to discuss strategies to be raised in the Monsoon Session of Parliament.

Then, soon after the Presidential election vote in the state Assembly, Banerjee spoke to the media, addressing the Basirhat unrest.

“According to intelligence reports, miscreants from Satkhira, a Bangladeshi district neighbouring Basirhat, have entered into Basirhat and created trouble there. Why were they allowed in? What were agencies like the Border Security Force and the NIA doing?” she asked.

Banerjee also claimed that several Sangh outfits like Durga Vahini have sprouted in this region with the help of Central agencies.

“You will unleash a monkey with its tale on fire in the state, and that will create mayhem. And you (Centre) want the state government to douse the fire, which is absolutely unacceptable,” she said.

The Gorkhaland situation

At a time when India and China have developed tensions due to a border dispute in Sikkim, Banerjee hinted at a Chinese and Nepali connection to the Gorkhaland unrest.

“Around 400 schools have been set up in Nepal to teach Chinese language. What are the Central agencies like R&AW doing?” she wondered.

Banerjee said: “If Sikkim is grabbed by China what will happen to us? You (Centre) have a bad relationship with China, Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh. It will be Bengal which will suffer from this bad foreign relationship, because Bengal has got a border with all these countries except China.

“I have written to the Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, that the Vishva Hindu Parishad burned the effigy of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in front of the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission in Kolkata. This will definitely affect the relationship between two countries.”

According to some Trinamool Congress ministers, the point Mamata was trying to drive home was that while China is trying to spread its hegemony in the region, the Central government is doing nothing to prevent the growing influence of China.

Moloy Ghatak, state law minister, said: “The Chief Minister is trying to establish the fact that China is trying to spread its hegemony all over India, but the Central government is remaining indifferent and is doing nothing to prevent the growing influence of China.”

Opposition unity

Banerjee exhorted the Opposition to unite against the ruling BJP, and fight 'despotic policies'.

“I know there are some parties which are with the BJP, but they are getting misled, and one day, the BJP will finish them.We will raise the issue of the unrest at Basirhat, the Darjeeling turmoil, the GST as well as demonetisation in Parliament,” Banerjee added.

BJP responds

Responding to Banerjee's statement, the BJP said the state government was merely trying to pass the buck as it had failed to control the turmoil on its own.

Dilip Ghosh, state BJP president, said: “Mamata Banerjee is unnecessarily accusing the Centre. Instead, she should take steps to control the situation.”

First published: 17 July 2017, 21:50 IST