Bengal CM warns of stern action against hooliganism
Kolkata : Peeved over the vandalism during the BJP-sponsored 12-hour shutdown in West Bengal on Wednesday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee warned that police will take stern action against those who indulged in hooliganism and violence.
Banerjee also directed the police to enforce The West Bengal Maintenance of Public Order (Amendment) Act, 2017, that makes those burning, looting and damaging properties liable for punishment and compensating for the losses.
The law was passed by the Assembly last year amid a walkout by the opposition Congress and CPI-M lawmakers.
The legislation seeks to curb the tendency to destroy public and private property during riots, unrest or violent political movements.
"I am asking the police to enforce the Act," the Chief Minister told mediapersons in the north Italian city of Milan where she has gone to attract investments to her state.
"How dare they indulge in vandalism? Is this their fief? Let such destructive activities come to an end," she said.
A number of state-run buses were vandalised and set on fire in the districts during the shutdown called by the BJP against the killing of two youths outside a school in Islampur in North Dinajpur district, allegedly due to police firing.
"Police will take stern action against those who indulged in hooliganism and vandalism," she said.
Describing the shutdown as a "total failure", Banerjee said the people of Bengal have foiled the attempt to disrupt normal life.
She said over 95 per cent of government employees reported for duty - a figure higher than the average daily attendance, while schools and colleges functioned normally.
Without taking names, Banerjee condemned the BJP's North Dinajpur district President Shankar Chakraborty who has been arrested for asking people to retaliate against any police action and tie cops to trees and beat them up.
"I even find political leaders threatening to kill policemen and hang them from trees. This is a criminal offence. I don't want to interfere in the administration's ways, but I feel law must run its course," the Chief Minister said.
Banerjee also slammed the BJP, accusing its leaders of bringing hooligans from outside to kill the two youths outside Darivit High School at Islampur last Friday.
"They are importing bombs and firearms, and then squatting on the roads," she added.