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Dhankhar for requisitioning paramilitary to enforce lockdown (2nd Lead)

Kolkata, April 16 (IANS) Expressing dismay over the manner of enforcement of lockdown in West Bengal, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Wednesday said the police and the state officials failing to curb religious congregations or effect social distancing should be “shown the door” and deployment of central forces be considered.

In a tweet, in which he tagged Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Dhankhar stressed on thorough implementation of the lockdown protocol to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

“Lockdown protocol has to be thoroughly implemented to ward off #coronavirus. Police and administration @MamataOfficial failing to effect 100% #SocialDistancing or curbing religious congregations be shown door.

“Lockdown must succeed – examine central para forces requisitioning!” he tweeted.

Banerjee gave a counter-punch complaining that the Governor was not lending a helping hand amidst the crisis.

“Some are asking for paramilitary force without lending a helping hand. Why? Even a military doctor and five members of his family contracted the disease in our state,” she said.

Banerjee also made a veiled attack on National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED) Director Shanta Dutta for claiming that the organisaiton’s virology lab was being given very low number of samples for testing.

“Those criticising on television came, I ask them how many (tests) can they do? One of their staff has already gone on quarantine. I hope and pray he recovers soon,” she said.

Recently, the Union Home Ministry wrote to the Bengal Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police seeking action against what it called ‘dilution’ of lockdown measures and criticised permission given for religious gatherings.

“There is no regulation on vegetable, fish and mutton markets in Rajabazaar, NarkelDanga, Topsia, Metiabruz, Garden Reach, Ikbalpur and Maniktala in Kolkata, which the people have been thronging in complete violation of social distancing norms,” read the letter sent on Saturday by the MHA’s Internal Security Division.

Banerjee had then responded by indicating the Centre’s letter had communal undertones as the areas mentioned were Muslim-dominated. “You know very well whom Delhi wants to keep special vigilance on. We are now not fighting any communal virus. We are fighting a disease,” she said.

–IANS

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