|Mamata speaks at the Belpahari rally; Duryodhan Mahato after being detained by the police. Picture by Amit Datta
Belpahari, Aug. 8: Mamata Banerjee today ordered police to detain a man who openly accused her of making false promises at a rally in West Midnapore’s Belpahari, hinting that he was a Maoist.
Policemen standing in front of the stage swung into action immediately and whisked away Duryodhan Mahato to Belpahari police station.
The chief minister was speaking on how Maoists entering Belpahari from Jharkhand and Odisha were trying to scupper the government’s development plans in Jungle Mahal when Mahato, who was sitting in the front row, stood up and shouted, pointing a finger at Mamata: “You are making false promises. You know well that your promises will never be fulfilled. Why are you lying to poor people like us?”
The chief minister got furious and told the police: “Catch him immediately. I have information that four-five Maoists are present at the meeting venue. They are trying to create disturbance.”
After Mahato, who was later found to be a bus conductor during police interrogation and released, was taken away, Mamata told the crowd: “Ki, dekhlen to kirokom oderi ekjonke hatenate dhore phellam, ami chini eder (did you see how I caught one of them red-handed? I know them).”
The police said Mahato was an “aggrieved villager” from Binpur and they could not establish any link between him and the Maoists.
“He only expressed his displeasure as he said he believed that the chief minister’s assurances would not help him in any way. So we decided to release him,” an officer of Belpahari police station said.
Patients at the Belpahari rural hospital, adjacent to Mamata’s rally venue, complained they could not sleep because of loudspeakers blaring from morning to afternoon.
“This is a violation of rules. No one can use loudspeakers within 100 metres of a hospital. More than 20 loudspeakers were fitted near the hospital, but we dared not object because the rally was being addressed by the chief minister,” a doctor said.
Chai Nayek, who was admitted on Monday with abdominal pain, said: “I was so unwell last night that I could not sleep. When I tried to catch a wink this morning, I could not because of the loudspeakers blaring continuously from 9am.”
Sushanta Karmar, who is suffering from diarrhoea, said: “Mamata is also the health minister. I can’t understand how can she be so irresponsible? My head is reeling because of the noise.”
A portion of the hospital’s boundary wall was demolished last night so that people could take a short cut to the rally venue through the hospital compound.
“The organisers put up a signboard directing people to walk through the hospital compound to the rally venue. Hundreds of people walked past the hospital shouting slogans. But who will dare to protest?” another doctor said.