A leader of the BJP's youth wing has courted controversy by announcing a bounty of Rs 11 lakh for West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's head after the police in her state used batons to disperse a rally raising slogans in praise of Lord Rama on Hanuman Jayanti.
The threat was issued by Yogesh Varshney, a leader of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM). "Mamata government beat up people. If someone was wearing a red shirt or a red pant, they were beaten up brutally by the police. I don't understand...Mamata Banerjee organises Iftar party, she argues for the Muslims. I want to ask her are Hindus not human?
"If they had any humanity, they wouldn't have beaten up like this. If anyone brings me her severed head, I will give that person Rs 11 lakh," Varshney said while criticising the police action on the rally.
The matter echoed on in the Parliament on Wednesday as TMC leaders raised the issue in Rajya Sabha, which garnered support from other parties as well. Samajwadi Party Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bacchan expressed anguish on the BJP leader's remark, stating that the BJP was keen on protecting cows but not women.
TMC's Saugata Roy also strongly condemned the BJP leader's statement urging strong action against people who make such provocations.
Meanwhile, BJP has distanced itslef from Varshney's comments, stating that the West Bengal state government is free to take action against him.
Don't agree with such remarks,there is anger against Mamataji for her appeasment politics but cant support violence:Kailash Vijayvargiya,BJP pic.twitter.com/O3NyuPPUcN
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) April 12, 2017
The fracas started on Tuesday, when police in Suri, in West Bengal's Birbhum district used batons to disperse a rally which shouted slogans in praise of "Shri Ram". The police had set up an iron barrier which those in procession tried to break, prompting the law-enforcers to make a lathicharge.
At another place on the outskirts of Suri, thousands of people had ignored a police ban to participate in a rally taken out under the aegis of an organisation observing Hanuman Jayanti.
The Suri Police had on Sunday told the organisers of Bir Hanuman Jayanti that it would not allow holding of any rally or meeting on Tuesday. The organisers had requested the police to allow the rally after assuring that they would not carry arms. However, the police did not budge from its stand.
In a separate incident, four people were injured after a bomb was hurled at a Hanuman Jayanti rally, around 40 km from Kolkata, according to a report in NDTV.
West Bengal general secretary of BJP Sayantan Basu had on Saturday alleged at a press meet at the party office that "The district administration at first had accorded permission, but later withdrew it on order of the TMC bosses."
In the past too, various instances of clashes between West Bengal administration and BJP/ RSS have emerged over celebration of festivals. Mamata had lashed out at BJP and RSS for brandishing swords at a celebration on Ram Navmi just weeks ago. Reacting to this, another RSS sympathiser outfit, Vishwa Hindu Parishad had accused Mamata of being anti-Hindu and practicing divisive politics.
"In Muharram processions, weapons are brandished. So how can you single out Ram Navami? You should see the pictures where children carry weapons during Muharram, how children slaughter goats during Eid. Is it not a violation of child rights? Do you not see that? Why are you silent then?" a VHP leader had asked.
Updated Date: Apr 12, 2017 12:34 PM