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BJP deadline for Mamata

Sandeshkhali, May 31: A BJP team including the two Bengal MPs and national-level politicians today gave the state government 24 hours to act against those who attacked party supporters in Sandeshkhali, failing which they would seek the Centre’s intervention.

“We have asked the chief secretary to start cases under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, lodge FIRs and arrest those involved in the attacks,” MP Meenakshi Lekhi, who was part of the five-member team, told a news conference at the Press Club.

“State-assisted violence is going on. We’ll seek the intervention of the Union home ministry and the PMO if the state government is unable to control the violence…. We’ll ask the national SC/ST commission to inquire into the incident.”

Lekhi said the team would submit a detailed report to BJP national president and Union home minister Rajnath Singh and the Prime Minister’s Office.

On May 27, a day after Narendra Modi’s swearing-in, BJP supporters were fired at in Sandeshkhali’s adjacent villages of Haldar Bheri and Jhupkhali, allegedly by Trinamul activists. Thirteen people suffered pellet injuries.

The BJP team, which included MPs Babul Supriyo and S.S. Ahluwalia, national spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Bengal observer Siddharth Nath Singh, was at Nabanna for 30 minutes.

The state BJP has upped the ante against the Mamata Banerjee government following its improved performance in Bengal in the Lok Sabha elections. It won two seats and 18 per cent of the votes.

Naqvi said attacks on party workers would not be tolerated. “We want to warn the government that if the acts of violence continue, the BJP will not remain quiet.”

After the team arrived in Calcutta, it headed for Haldar Bheri and Jhupkhali along with state BJP president Rahul Sinha. BJP supporters in the villages spoke about their fears to the party leaders.

“People are now coming to our village to meet us. Police have been deployed. What will happen once all these people leave and the police are removed? We’ll be left at the mercy of Trinamul-backed goons,” Haldar Bheri resident Tapan Naskar said.

The delegation assured the villagers the party would stand by them. It also met the victims at Calcutta’s SSKM Hospital.

The BJP alleges that since the Lok Sabha results were announced, its supporters have been attacked in several parts of the state.

Naqvi told reporters at Calcutta airport: “Post-poll violence has been on the rise in Bengal. The situation is worse than that under Left rule.”

Jyotipriya Mullick, food minister and Trinamul’s North 24-Parganas chief, said the party was not involved in the attacks. “Let them show one person who has suffered a bullet injury, and I shall quit the cabinet,” he said.

Left to meet CM

A Left Front delegation will meet Mamata at Nabanna on June 9 and hand over a memorandum on “atrocities unleashed by the ruling party” on Left workers and supporters, CPM state secretary Biman Bose said today.