Malda violence between BSF and locals: Mamata Banerjee

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Kolkata, Jan 9: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday asserted that the recent violence in Malda district was not communal strife but a fight between BSF personnel and residents of the area.

Banerjee, who at the two-day Bengal Global Business Summit here repeatedly asserted there was no communal tension in the state when asked to comment on the Malda violence, said the incident was distorted and misinformation was spread about it.

'Malda violence between BSF and locals'

"It has been distorted and misinformed about what actually happened there. It was a struggle between the BSF and the locals and the state is not involved in any way in this matter," Banerjee told mediapersons at the summit.

"The scuffle was between BSF and the locals and that (the incident) is not within party, state government or state police. We just managed the situation," she said.

Strongly objecting to Banerjee's claims, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accused the chief minister of spreading misinformation.

"The chief minister is spreading misinformation and trying to wash off the responsibilities. If it was really a fight between the BSF and the locals then why the Kaliachak police station was attacked and as many as 11 police vehicles were torched?" BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha told IANS.

According to reports, protesting against remarks allegedly made to "hurt religious sentiments" in Uttar Pradesh, a large number of people on Sunday went on a rampage in Kaliachak, torching vehicles including those belonging to the Border Security Force (BSF) and also attacked a police station.

Sinha claimed the incident was orchestrated by the ruling Trinamool Congress to destroy records of its people's involvement in anti-national activities.

"The area is prone to cow smuggling, infiltration and fake note smuggling and records of all these activities are kept at the Kaliachak police station.

"With the NIA taking over the Pathankot probe, Trinamool is apprehensive that the agency may catch up with its activists and leaders involved in such anti-national activities. That is why this whole incident was devised so that the records in the police station can be destroyed,' added Sinha.

While the Centre has sought a report from the Banerjee administration, Sinha said Governor K.N. Tripathi has sent a report on the matter to the Centre.

Making similar accusations, BJP national secretary and party co-in-charge for the state Siddharth Nath Singh called for a central probe.

"The incident is not all communal rather it is the Trinamool which is trying to pass it off as a communal strife to cover its anti-national activities. So we have demanded a probe into the matter by a central agency," Singh told IANS.

While there has been speculation that union Home Minister Rajnath Singh may visit Malda, Singh claimed owing to pre-scheduled events, the senior leader will not be able to visit.

However, union minister and former party chief Nitin Gadkari is slated to attend a public meeting in Malda on Jan 18.

Police have so far arrested 10 people and booked them for several offences including arson and damage to public property.

IANS

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