Protests in Kolkata as CBI arrests TMC Ministers; Governor slams police, urges Mamata Banerjee to 'follow rule of law'

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Monday took to Twitter hitting out at the West Bengal police and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee even as protests took place in the state capital. Hundreds gathered outside the CBI's Nizam Palace office in Kolkata after top Trinamool Congress leaders were arrested for their purported role in the Narada scam. The decision has since evoked a furious rejoinder with party supporters clashing with the police even as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee agitated within the building.

The central agency arrested Trinamool Congress leaders Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee and Madan Mitra as well as former party leader Sovan Chatterjee in connection with the case this morning. All four of them were ministers during the time of the alleged commission of the offence in 2014 and presently, Hakim and Mukherjee serve as members of Banerjee's Cabinet. Mitra was also recently re-elected as an MLA, while Chatterjee, who left the TMC to join the BJP, has severed links with both parties.

Visuals shared online on Monday showed a large number of party supporters gathered together, seemingly without much concern about the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown or the fact that the case load in the state has recently reached record highs. While some wore masks, many had opted to forego it as they stood in close proximity to each other and tussled with the police. They waved TMC flags, tried to storm through the barricades, and raised slogans against the CBI and the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.

"Concerned at alarming situation. Call upon Mamata Banerjee to follow constitutional norms and rule of law. West Bengal Police and Kolkata Police and state Home department must take all steps to maintain law and order. Sad situation is being allowed to drift with no tangible action by authorities," the Governor tweeted.

In a series of follow up tweets, Dhankhar slammed Banerjee for what he dubbed "total lawlessness and anarchy" in the area. The Police and the administration, he alleged, was in "silence mode", adding that he had noticed cases of arson and pelting of stones at the CBI office. Calling it "pathetic", he alleged that the police were mere onlookers even as the chaotic scenes played out.

"Hope you realize repercussions of such lawlessness and failure of constitutional mechanism. Time to reflect and contain this explosive situation that is worsening minute by minute," he wrote tagging the Chief Minister and appealing for her to "act and restore law and order".

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