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Mamata team to visit CAA bereaved in UP

At least 16 people have lost their lives in the northern state, ruled by Yogi Adityanath
Mamata at an anti-CAA rally in Calcutta on December 17.
Mamata at an anti-CAA rally in Calcutta on December 17.
Picture by Sanat Kumar Sinha

Meghdeep Bhattacharyya   |   Calcutta   |   Published 21.12.19, 07:38 PM

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday decided to send a team of Trinamul Congress leaders to Uttar Pradesh in the wake of the deaths of at least 16 protesters in alleged police action there since Friday.

Sources said Mamata was simultaneously planning to up the ante against the BJP over deaths of people protesting the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the NRC in the states the party rules.


Trinamul, said party all-India general secretary Subrata Bakshi, will send on Sunday a four-member delegation to Uttar Pradesh to meet the kin of those killed in alleged police firing.

As of Saturday evening, at least 16 people have lost their lives in the northern state, ruled by Yogi Adityanath of the BJP.

“Our delegation is going to Uttar Pradesh on a humanitarian mission, to be with the grieving families of those

killed and also meet those injured in the incidents,” said Bakshi.

The delegation — having former Union railway minister Dinesh Trivedi, Joynagar MP Pratima Mondal and Rajya Sabha members Nadimul Haque and Abir Biswas — is likely to reach Lucknow on Sunday. Mamata had sent teams of MPs twice to Assam, when the crisis over the NRC was deepening in 2018.

“The death of protesters only in BJP-ruled states is shocking. But the sharp rise in the death toll in Adityanath’s Uttar Pradesh in the past 24 hours has raised alarm internationally,” a Trinamul MP said.

“In a matter of days, the death toll of protesters in India — specifically in the BJP-ruled states — has exceeded that in the Hong Kong protests that have been continuing for six-seven months,” he added.

According to the MP, like in Assam in August 2018, the party is aware that the delegation could be detained at Lucknow airport itself by the local police. The MP, however, said the team members would try their best to reach some of the bereaved families.

Sources in Trinamul said Mamata, who is likely to hold a news conference on Monday and lead a mass march from Swami Vivekananda’s Hedua residence to Gandhi Bhavan in Beleghata, would tear into the BJP over the death toll.

“She has already been referring to these deaths in her addresses, but now she will further raise the ante,” said a source.

Despite the normality and calm for a week, the Bengal government has kept the police and civil administration, especially in the districts, besides the intelligence network, on high alert. The situation, said senior officials, could turn volatile quickly in reaction to the attacks on protesters and the deaths in the BJP-ruled states.

“Such violent incidents, especially deaths in police firing, could suddenly turn the law-and-order situation volatile here. The entire administration and intelligence have been issued instructions. Violence, vandalism and disruption will not be tolerated. They must be pre-empted,” said a senior official.

“Over 600 provocateurs have been arrested and the administration has been relentless in preventing things from spiralling out of control, fomented by external elements,” he added.

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