West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose has issued a strong statement on the incident of stone-throwing on the convoy of Union Minister of State (Home Affairs), Nisith Pramanik, in Dinhata, Coochbehar district on Saturday.
In a statement issued to the media, the Governor, who, unlike his predecessor Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, has maintained a cordial relationship with the state government, said, “Governor will not be a mute witness to any deterioration of Law and Order anywhere, anytime in the State, and strong and effective intervention will follow to ensure that the rot is stemmed in the root effectively, and peace and harmony restored.” The statement added, “As Governor, it is my duty to ensure that West Bengal does not slip into a ‘soft state’. Rule of law will be established with an iron fist in a velvet glove. Democracy will not be allowed to degenerate into mobocracy.”
The Governor’s statement also called for an “action taken report” from the responsible law enforcement authorities, as well as “immediate and perceptible action while dealing with the criminals”.
It said the Governor has held confidential enquiries in the matter and personally discussed it with Mr Pramanik and found it “shocking” that such incidents happened in a land which is “known for its refined culture and enviable history of civilised conduct”.
The ruling Trinamool Congress has blamed the BJP for the attack on the junior minister’s convoy. Local police say they have arrested 18 people in connection with the incident and say “rowdy elements” in the crowd were BJP supporters. Police say a Trinamool party office was ransacked and even policemen sustained injuries and added that country-made arms have also been seized. Police say more raids are on in the area and the recoveries were made from BJP supporters.
Mr Pramanik, who is the Member of Parliament from Coochbehar in north Bengal, had blamed Trinamool Congress supporters for the attack on his convoy while he was on his way to a local party office. “If a minister is not safe, you can imagine the plight of the common man. The incident shows the state of democracy in Bengal,” he said.
Local reports say there is some anger against Mr Pramanik over the killing of a local tribal allegedly in BSF firing which reports to the Union Home Ministry. Trinamool National General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee had targeted Mr Pramanik for not doing enough over the killing at a recent rally in Coochbehar. Recently, the Trinamool had announced it would hold protests against Nisith Pramanik on the issue and Udayan Guha, Trinamool leader from north Bengal had said that he would be shown black flags wherever he goes.
In the stone-throwing, Nisith Pramanik’s car’s windshield and windows suffered damage. Security forces were seen firing teargas shells to disperse the protesters. Mr Pramanik was seen walking with a human shield and a helmet held over his head.
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