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Modi arrest question on Mamata lips

Mamata speaks at the rally in Ranaghat on Sunday. Picture by Arijit Chakraborty

May 4: Mamata Banerjee today accused Narendra Modi of inflaming the situation in Assam’s Bodo areas, where violence has claimed 31 lives since Thursday, and threatened to approach the Election Commission.

“While campaigning in Assam, he has inflamed the situation. I will lodge a complaint against him with the Election Commission. Why should he not be arrested?” she told a rally in Krishnagar, not naming Modi but identifying him as the BJP prime ministerial candidate.

Earlier in the day, Mamata wrote on her Facebook page: “Certain comments of some political parties including the aspirant of High office are adding fuel. Their language must be controlled and they should not play politics with fire where innocent lives are involved.”

Modi has been referring to Bangladeshi infiltration in his speeches in Bengal and Assam — where he last spoke on April 19 — even suggesting that rhinos were being killed at the Kaziranga National Park to create room for infiltrators.

Today, too, Modi referred to Bangladeshi immigrants at his rally in Asansol.

“There are two types of immigrants — one, refugees who have been chased out: these are sons and daughters of Bharat Mata, do Durga Puja and speak Bengali,” he said. “The others are those who come here to add to the ruling party’s vote bank.”

Mamata referred to the Assam violence at her rally in Ranaghat, saying “Bengal’s doors are open” for those fleeing the neighbouring state’s trouble-torn areas. “Those affected in Assam are welcome to my state. Bengal’s doors are open for them because we believe in hospitality.”

Mamata recalled how Bengal had given shelter to 2,000-odd people who had fled to Jalpaiguri during the 2012 violence in Assam’s Bodo areas.

On her Facebook page, she lambasted what she saw as the silence of the Centre and Assam’s Congress-led government whose ally, the Bodo People’s Front, is being accused of an ethnic cleansing campaign aimed at re-engineering the voting population.

Bengal BJP president Rahul Sinha said that Mamata’s demand for Modi’s arrest was an “irresponsible statement”.