Dhankhar reaches North Bengal on week-long visit, slams Bengal govt

Amid demands of making North Bengal a separate state, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, who reached the Bagdogra airport in Siliguri on Monday to kick-start his week-long visit to the region, once again took a dig at the Mamata Banerjee-led state government over the ‘large scale violence’ that took place in Bengal after the Assembly election results were declared on May 2.

Speaking to the media at the airport, Dhankhar said, “In a democratic situation, the security and safety of people is the most important thing. If there is any threat to the life and fundamental rights of the people, it is the duty of the police and the administration to help them. It is the duty of the government to uphold the fundamental rights of the people.”

“I am worried about whatever has happened in the state after May 2. The country has not seen such large-scale violence after Independence. People from all over the world have got in touch with me regarding the violence in Bengal, but the state government is not even admitting it. This is shocking,” Dhankhar added.

“I have visited several parts of Bengal and Assam and spoke to the people on this. Wherever I went, I asked the victims why they are not going to the police. They told me that once they go to the police station, they will come from there not as victims, but as criminals. This raises the finger towards the administration and the police of the state though the government is in a denial mood. I am utterly surprised,” the Governor said.

Dhankhar’s reaction came on a day when the Calcutta High Court turned down the state government’s plea to recall its June 18 order directing the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to constitute a committee for examining the complaints filed by the persons displaced during the post-poll violence in Bengal. The state had moved the court on Saturday seeking recall and stay of the high court’s order.

The Governor’s reaction is also considered to be significant because he recently met President Ram Nath Kovind, Home Minister Amit Shah and several Union ministers in the national capital, and expectedly discussed the law and order situation of the state.

Dhankhar, who has been vocal on the issue for some time now, had also written to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, urging her to break her silence and contain the post-poll violence in the state.

Many feel that Dhankhar might have submitted a report to Shah regarding the law and order situation in the state.

“I spoke to some people in Delhi. We cannot compromise on democracy; we cannot compromise on rule of law and we cannot compromise with the Constitution. I am hopeful that everyone will listen to my sane voice,” Dhankhar had said after his meeting with Shah.

Political observers feel that Dhankhar’s visit to North Bengal is significant because it comes at a time when several BJP MPs and MLAs have started demanding for a separate statehood or Union Territory status for the five districts of North Bengal.

The BJP MP from Alipurduar, John Barla, recently floated the demand for making North Bengal a separate state or Union Territory. Though the BJP has distanced itself from the issue, terming Barla’s remark as his personal opinion, the saffron brigade cannot ignore the growing demand in the party.