Mamata says sit-in not against one agency only, backs Kolkata Police chief

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Kolkata, Feb 4 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday termed her ‘dharna’ (sit-in) as “non-political” and not against any individual agency but the “anarchic moves” of the Narendra Modi government to “destroy” democracy.

She also put her weight behind the city police chief Rajeev Kumar, who came under the CBI scanner in relation with the ongoing probes into the ponzi scams in Bengal, asserting that she is ready give her life to protect those who are innocent.

“Our satyagraha is not against any individual agency. Our protest is against the anarchic moves by the Modi government, against their attempts to divide the country and spread hate, intimidation and terror among people,” said Banerjee, who is holding the sit-in here since Sunday night following a face-off between the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Kolkata police.

“We are holding this demonstration under the ‘Save India’ banner, to protect the constitutional, democratic and social rights of people. We also want to ensure that people’s freedom of speech is protected and the officials of different state and central agencies can work impartially,” she said.

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Noting that Kumar was a part of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) which probed chit fund companies like Saradha in the state, Banerjee claimed that the Central government is labelling honest people as thieves while the “real thieves” are at large.

“I am not angry with any individual, but my anger is directed at the mechanism intending to destroy these institutions, misuse of the institutions, setting one officer after another. I was peeved when they tried to get to Rajeev Kumar… He is leading the force,” she said.

“If Kumar is a thief, whose money has he taken? I am a thief, whose money have I taken? The real thieves are never caught, but if honest people are being dubbed thieves, then I will stand by them. If I have to give my life for that, I am ready, but I am not ready to compromise,” she asserted amid thunderous applause by her party activists.

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Banerjee had begun the sit-in on Sunday night, accusing Modi and BJP Chief Amit Shah of attempting a coup to destabilise her state, saying there is a “constitutional break-down”.

The showdown started after the federal probe agency’s officers showed up near the residence of Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar, who has been under the scanner in connection with the CBI probe into the ponzi scheme scam case. Kolkata police officials then came and took away the CBI personnel.

The chief minister further claimed she was asked not to get involved in the case by Kumar and other senior officers of state police but refused as she has never compromised with wrongdoing.

Noting that her demonstration has received support from across the country, Banerjee said: “It is not a small issue. Prominent leaders from across the country have extended their support to us.

“All the state-based political parties and those who believe in the importance of federal structure are beside us. It is not an individual fight but a collective fight.”

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Accusing the centre of trying to stage a “coup” against everyone who speaks against them using the agencies at their disposal, Banerjee claimed that under the current regime, talking against the BJP has become synonymous with going to jail.

She also said those who are claiming that there is no law and order in Bengal should come to the state during festivities and carnivals where thousands of people from across the country come together to celebrate without any problems.

“Anybody who says the law and order situation in Bengal is bad, leucoplast should be put on their face…Have you come to Bengal during Durga Puja or Christmas? So many people come here and everything takes place in a smooth and peaceful manner. Shouldn’t they (police) be congratulated for this?” she added.

–IANS

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