A few weeks back, the West Bengal Government of Mamata Banerjee had denied permission to the BJP to flag off a Rath Yatra in the state on account of ‘intelligence reports’ in connection with efforts to disrupt communal harmony with the Rath Yatra.
In a letter to the BJP, the state government had stated, “The areas proposed to be covered by the yatra are, because of publicity and propaganda, gradually turning into communally sensitive pockets. Intelligence reports indicate that public perception is that the religious overtones of the yatra will be turned into communal propaganda. Furthermore, during the period cited, major festivals and events are scheduled, and it requires a heavy deployment of the resources of the government, including the police force. We are therefore of the opinion that, for the reasons which have been elaborately mentioned. It is not possible to allow the yatra as proposed by the BJP.”
The BJP had planned a Rath Yatra in West Bengal not only to unite the Hindu community against the regime of Mamata Banerjee but also to make people aware of the appeasement policies that are highly skewed towards the Muslim population. However, Mamata Banerjee left no stone unturned in order to halt the plans of the BJP citing ‘intelligence reports’.
However, now an India Today investigation has found that there was hardly any specific intelligence to justify the ban.
Intelligence officers confess there was pressure from the @MamataOfficial Govt in Bengal to block @BJP4India 's Rath Yatra. @IndiaToday Special Investigation by @ojasjain11 & @mdhizbullah. Battle for 42 seats in Bengal will be intense. We will get you the latest ground reports. https://t.co/Rzei2mwc9f
— GAURAV C SAWANT (@gauravcsawant) February 8, 2019
West Bengal’s Bankura district intelligence watch in-charge officer J.P. Singh confessed to India Today’s undercover reporter that his unit’s report was based on diktats from the top.
J.P Singh said there was nothing of the sort (potential to trigger riots). He went on to add that if the BJP had permission, they would have given them protection. But the BJP didn’t have any permission.
The undercover India Today reporter probed, “But Sir, you must have prepared your report.”
J.P Singh replied, “Yes, that was prepared. Every district prepared it. It’s the same all over.” He further added, “What I am saying is that the master is only one person not ten people. The report is based on their instructions and sent out accordingly.”
J.P Singh confessed that the intelligence dossier on the proposed Rath Yatra was based on vague inputs. He said, “Everything was up in the air.”
According to India Today report, an ACP with the special branch in West Bengal’s Paschim Bardhaman district, Bappaditya Ghosh claimed that his office received no concrete intelligence with respect to the issues that the BJP’s proposed Rath Yatra might have caused in West Bengal. He alleged, “We were under some political pressure.” He also confessed that there was no fresh input regarding any communal problem in the state.
The intelligence agencies of West Bengal’s Purba Bardhaman and Howrah Rural also denied receiving any negative inputs about the BJP’s proposed Rath Yatra plans. According to the India Today report, the report submitted by Howrah Rural intelligence authorities was based on past records and not on the present situation.
The ruling TMC has dismissed the India Today’s report as a conspiracy.
The BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, “This is an issue of purgery committed by the TMC. And we demand an investigation into this.”
It is now quite clear that the TMC government denied the BJP permission to carry out the Rath Yatra only because it was afraid about how it will affect the electoral equations in the state. In the name of baseless intelligence report and concerns of law and order, the state government denied the permission to hold a Rath Yatra. It was an unreasonable and capricious decision. It was another dictatorial decision of the Mamata Banerjee government in order to protect her rapidly decreasing political clout in the state.