As the anti-CAA protests gripped the nation it wasn’t surprising that West Bengal emerged as the epicentre of violence as the protesters decided to plunder public property as the Mamata led Trinamool government stood as a mere bystander. The events that took place in West Bengal are shameful and it is the ex-chequer that has to bear the brunt of Mamata’s appeasement and vendetta driven politics. She overstepped her line when she issued advertisements in leading national publications against the CAA and NRC and was rightly pulled up by West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar for her actions. However, Mamata continued to be unfazed as she tried to brazen it out. In a welcome move, the Calcutta High Court has ordered the Mamata government to take down the anti-CAA advertisements.
In a major setback to the West Bengal government, the Calcutta High Court on Monday directed all state-sponsored advertisements against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) to be removed from public platforms. The court, in an interim direction, asked the Bengal government to suspend all such advertisements till the next plea is heard on January 9. Commenting on the Calcutta High Court’s order, Union Minister Babul Supriyo tweeted, “If only Mamata Banerjee had taken advice from the few educated MPs and MLAs she has in her party about she (A CM) not having any authority, as per our constitution, to block an ACT that’s in the central List and anyone other than Didi would know that citizenship is Centre’s prerogative.”
If only @MamataOfficial had taken advise from the few educated MPs & MLAs she has in her party about she (A CM) not having any authority, as per our constitution, to block an ACT that’s in the Central List & anyone other than Didi wud know that Citizenship is Centre’s prerogative pic.twitter.com/0aL3YAzFPk
— Babul Supriyo (@SuPriyoBabul) December 23, 2019
While Mamata Banerjee has been critical of the Centre’s amended Citizenship Act and NRC, the state Governor Jagdeep Dhankar had accused the West Bengal chief minister of “wasting public money” on the anti-CAA and anti-NRC campaign. Dhankar had urged Mamata to withdraw the advertisements and stated, “How can an elected head of a government use public money to give advertisement in national media that there will be no NRC, no CAB in the state? This advertisement is unconstitutional.” The Governor said as the constitutional head of the state he had very “gracefully” drawn Banerjee’s attention to the issue, and urged her to withdraw it.“I am sure you all will agree that public money can’t be used to lead an agitation against the law of the land.”
Mamata’s hypocrisy over the CAA has been laid bare as before assuming the reigns of West Bengal, she used to plead in Parliament to stop Bangladeshi infiltrators and help the persecuted refugees from there and Prime Minister Modi had called her out for the same.
In a highly condemnable move which smacks of desperation and mirrors Pakistan’s line on Kashmir, Mamata recently called for a UN-monitored referendum on NRC and CAA a few days ago following country-wide student agitation against the act. Internationalising India’s internal issues are the modus operandi of Pakistan and it’s shameful that an Indian Chief Minister is trying to copy Pakistan just to discredit Prime Minister Modi.
The state has witnessed unprecedented levels of vandalism as Mamata has given a free hand to the mob to spread unabated violence. Mamata’s tacit backing is evident as senior State Minister and Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim has urged the mob not to strengthen the BJP by fomenting ‘lawlessness’. Violence has also taken grip of Malda, even as the hooligans vandalised the Bhaluka railway station. They even resorted to arson and set the ticket counter on fire, even as hundreds of agitators blocked the tracks at the railway station. Within a few days of violence, these vandals and hooligans have run riot in West Bengal torching 5 trains, 3 railway stations, a dozen buses and a toll plaza. These protesters have not just been torching and vandalising public property, but they have also been targeting innocent citizen. There were also reports of Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel being attacked and at least four RPF vehicles were set ablaze in Sagardighi and Rejinagar. Some RPF jawans were also beaten up by a violent mob and had to be rushed to a hospital in Beldanga.
There have been reports and disturbing visuals of such communally enraged violent mobs pelting stones at running trains carrying passengers. Causing structural damage to tracks, setting them on fire and vandalising critical infrastructure are all methods to cause derailments and nasty accidents. This is exactly what the violent mobs in West Bengal have been trying to do. There have also been reports of attacking police stations and pelting stones at cops, after which the police had to resort to lathi-charge. What has happened in West Bengal is therefore no less than terrorism.
At such a delicate time, the Calcutta HC order is much welcome and can help the Central government in containing the massive disinformation campaign against the Citizenship Amendment Act. In a concerning development, a video which has gone viral shows, Mamata Banerjee, displaying signs of extreme paranoia as she’s seen urging the crowd to chant ‘BJP Chi Chi’ and ‘Ka Ka Chi Chi’ during a protest rally against the CAA. It remains to be seen how Mamata reacts to the Calcutta HC’s order.