Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s appeal to the people to target security forces provoked the clash in Cooch Behar district during voting on Saturday, Home Minister Amit Shah said on Sunday, rebuffing the Trinamool chief’s accusations that he was responsible for the violence.
“Mamata Banerjee’s advice to gherao central forces instigated people to attack the CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) in Sitalkuchi. Even now, attempts are being made to politicise the killings,” Mr Shah said during a rally in Santipur.
He further said, “My humble request to the people of Bengal is to celebrate the festival of democracy peacefully in the rest of the voting phases. Vote, and make your favourite candidate win. Work to create a new history of peaceful elections in Bengal.”
“I promise the people of Bengal that after May 2, when the BJP government will be formed in Bengal under the leadership of Modi ji, this electoral violence, political violence will leave Bengal forever,” Mr Shah said.
The BJP leader’s comments came after Mamata Banerjee demanded his resignation over the incident and labelled the killing of four people in central force firing at Cooch Behar “a genocide”, saying the victims were “sprayed with bullets in the chest and neck”.
“This is genocide. They have fired just like a fire-spray. They should have fired below the wait. But they have fired at neck and chest,” she said.
Ms Banerjee, who was speaking at a press meet in Siliguri in north Bengal, said, “The CISF is not trained for mob control. Now they want to suppress facts. That’s why they banned entry into Cooch Behar for 72 hours,” she added.
“Home Minister Amit Shah is completely responsible for today’s incident and he himself is the conspirator. I don’t blame central forces because they work under Home Minister’s order. We will demand his resignation,” she said.
Trinamool Congress has alleged that Central forces opened fire twice at polling booths in Cooch Behar where people are casting their votes, killing four party workers.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed his sadness over the incident. He urged EC to strongly deal with those responsible for what happened in Cooch Behar.
On Saturday, around 10.30 am, the CISF on duty at booth number 126 at Jorpatki in the Sitalkuchi constituency had opened fire in which four people died and at least another person received a bullet injury. One more person was killed in a separate incident of shooting by a group of unidentified men.
The Special Police Observer appointed by the Election Commission, Vivek Dube, sent a report saying the CISF had to fire in self-defence when villagers tried to snatch their weapons. There was a misunderstanding between villages and the CISF, he had said.
The next phase of the elections will take place on April 17.