Kolkata (West Bengal): West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Wednesday slammed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over the Birbhum violence and said that it is high time to revisit confrontational unconstitutional stance so that democratic values and human rights get restored and people get a reprieve from repressive 'fear' and suffering.
In a three-page reply letter to Banerjee, the Governor said that there was a "political conspiracy" behind the violence. He also said that the number of casualties may be higher.
"As usual you have taken accusatory stance (in your March 22 communication) at my restrained just reaction to grisly carnage, worst in recent memory at Rampurhat, where reportedly the entire family of Sanju Sheikh -- six women and two children were burnt alive in Bogtoi village. The casualty figure is stated to be higher as per reports. This shocking carnage is being justifiably compared by many to the incidents in the state a few years ago, while you were in the opposition," said Dhankhar.
Dhankhar's comments came in reply to Banerjee's letter in which she urged Governor "to refrain from making unwarranted statements and allow the administration to conduct an impartial probe into the Birbhum violence.
The Governor alleged that Banerjee is adopting diversionary tactics and is labelling his reaction as a "sweeping and uncalled for statement." "In the face of such enormity, I cannot 'fiddle' in Raj Bhawan and be a mute spectator. That would be an unpardonable abdication of my constitutional duty," he said.
"Every time flagging of the issue at this end leads to unleashing your apparatus against the Governor," he added.
Dhankhar said that there can just be no credibility for the SIT headed by Gyanwant Singh as the probe will be a 'cover-up operation' to provide an escape route to rogue elements.
The Governor said that in a state suffering unchecked rampant political violence, arson, extortion and murders, a Chief Minister, claiming to be the protector of democracy, should have minimally acted against the known dreaded musclemen, who only survive on state patronage.
He further asked Banerjee to hold the rule of law as the supreme command, rather than finding fault in the Governor, who is expectedly performing his solemn duty under the Constitution rightly at this most unfortunate moment that has seen people being burnt alive.
"I would urge you to face the alarming grim situation and vindicate your oath of office and bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India and faithfully and conscientiously discharge duties as Chief Minister. High time for you to revisit your confrontational unconstitutional stance and pave the way of functioning in togetherness so that democratic values and human rights get restored and people get a reprieve from repressive fear and suffering," he said.
As many as eight people were burnt to death in the Rampurhat area of West Bengal's Birbhum on Tuesday after a mob allegedly set houses on fire following the killing of Trinamool Congress leader Bahadur Shaikh.
Director-General of Police (DGP) West Bengal, Manoj Malviya informed that 11 arrests have been made in the case so far. He further informed that Bahadur Shaikh's murder was reported last night, an hour after which 7-8 houses nearby had caught fire.
A special investigation team has been formed to probe the matter.