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Mamata disruption ire at disabled persons

Burdwan, July 9: Mamata Banerjee today chided a group of disabled people who raised placards to seek “a five-minute audience” with her at a meeting in Burdwan.

“Why are you trying to disrupt the meeting?” the chief minister said from the dais at the public meeting in Nababhat after the placards were raised.

Around 70 disabled people had been waiting for hours since early morning to meet the chief minister and seek identity cards, admission to schools, loans and land rights.

One of the posters read: “We are disabled people. We need five minutes from you, chief minister.”

As photographers rushed to take snaps of the placards and posters, Mamata said: “What’s going on? I know you (the group) have been sent by (CPM leader) Kanti Ganguly. Herey giyeo lajja nei. Rajneeti korte ashben na (You have no shame despite losing. Don’t do politics).”

The chief minister speaks at the meeting

The chief minister directed the disabled people to meet Burdwan district magistrate Saumitra Mohan and submit a charter of demands.

“A letter is enough for me to take action and I do take action when something is brought to my knowledge. Leave a letter, but don’t do this,” the chief minister told the group before resuming her speech.

The group then walked out of the venue.

Ganguly, a minister in the erstwhile Left government, is the secretary of two voluntary organisations working for the rights of disabled people.

Ganguly, a former MLA from South 24-Parganas, denied having sent anyone to the chief minister’s meeting. “We did not send any team. She is the chief minister of our state and any person can approach her with his or her problems. It would have been nice had she heard them,” Ganguly said.

This is not the first time Mamata has sniffed a conspiracy at a public meeting. At a rally in West Midnapore’s Belpahari on August 8, 2012, she had labelled farmer Shiladitya Chowdhury a Maoist for asking her a question on the rising prices of fertilizers. Shiladitya had been arrested.

When Mamata vented her ire at the disabled people for raising the placards at today’s meeting, a team of policemen and administrative officials rushed to the enclosure where the group was seated and urged them to keep quiet.

“We were keen to meet her and had come here early in the morning. But after the way she shouted at us, we have decided not to approach her for any help,” said Mohammad Kalimuddin, one of the members.