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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 19 June 2024

BJP alleges attack on NIA officials at Bhupatinagar in East Midnapore 'state-sponsored'

Saffron party accused Mamata Banerjee of inciting violence to create hurdles in 2022 blast case probe and protect those involved in incident

Subhasish Chaudhuri Calcutta Published 07.04.24, 10:07 AM
The NIA car damaged in the mob attack at Bhupatinagar in East Midnapore on Saturday

The NIA car damaged in the mob attack at Bhupatinagar in East Midnapore on Saturday Picture by Kanishka Maity

The BJP on Saturday deployed its national spokesperson to allege that the attack on NIA officials at Bhupatinagar in East Midnapore early on Saturday was “state- sponsored”.

The saffron party accused Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee of inciting the violence to create hurdles in the 2022 blast case probe and protect those involved in the incident.

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The BJP’s accusations came after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested two key conspirators in the 2022 blast case amid an attack on the probe agency’s team by a crowd at Bhupatinagar in East Midnapore district’s Contai earlier in the day.

Reacting sharply to the incident, BJP national spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla said in Delhi: “The attack on the NIA officials is Sandeshkhali 2.0 orchestrated by the state to put hurdles to the investigation into the bomb blast case.”

“It was not just a coincidence but a well-thought-out experiment. It was a state-sponsored attack on NIA officials. The attack was organised by the ruling TMC,” Poonawalla alleged, urging the Election Commission to take note of it.

Poonawalla alleged that the pattern of attack on the NIA officials was similar to the attack on ED officials visiting Sandeshkhali in North 24-Parganas on January 5.

In Bengal, BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari said the state’s structure of law and order had “crumbled” and demanded legal action against the Bhupatinagar police station officer-in-charge, the Contai subdivisional police officer and the East Midnapore superintendent of police.

Adhikari took to his X handle and wrote: “It is due to Mamata Banerjee’s repeated instigation that even after the ED officials were attacked at Sandeshkhali, the TMC leaders could still dare to attack the NIA India officers. She recently spoke ill about the NIA at the political event at Mathabhanga in the Cooch Behar district. The NIA team went to apprehend Balai Maity and others who didn’t cooperate after receiving summons. Instead, these TMC leaders were busy planning how to attack the National Investigation Agency officers.”

The BJP part, the other Trinamul rivals, the CPM and the Congress, also accused Mamata of instigating violence and patronising goons.

CPM state secretary and the party’s Murshidabad Lok Sabha candidate Md Salim termed the Bhupatinagar incident “not unusual” in a state where criminals “rule”.

“Sheer lawlessness has been prevailing in Bengal for over a decade. Twelve years ago, our leader Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said with Mamata Banerjee ruling Bengal, it is criminals who rule the state,” Salim told reporters, claiming the “spineless” police for being were working on Trinamul leader Abhishek Banerjee’s directives.

Speaking to The Telegraph, chief spokesperson of Bengal Congress Soumya Aich Roy echoed Salim and said the state had become a “safe hunting ground” for goons allegedly under the patronage of the Bengal chief minister and her party.

“Mamata has made goons believe that they rule the state. She has been encouraging the goons like Sheikh Sahajahan, who attacked ED officials. It is because of such patronage that a re-run of Sandeshkhali happened in Bhupatinagar,” Roy said.

Bengal governor C.V. Ananda Bose also slammed the attack on the NIA. “This is a very serious situation which has to be dealt with all the seriousness that it deserves. This kind of ‘goondaism’ should not be allowed. Muscle power should not replace legal power. This (the situation) has to be dealt with an iron hand,” Bose told PTI at Raj Bhavan.


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