Mamata Banerjee reacts to bounty row, says one can threaten me but cannot scare me

Domkal (WB): In wake of a BJP youth wing leader announcing a bounty on her head, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said one can threaten or call her names, but cannot scare her. Without naming anyone, Banerjee said, "They can abuse me, vilify me and conspire against me. They can abuse me as much as they want. I pray to God to forgive them. They do not know what they are saying. I will not say anything more."

Mamata Banerjee. PTI

Mamata Banerjee. PTI

In an apparent reference to the Hindutva brigade, she told a public meeting here, "If anyone says that being a Hindu I can't go to a mosque or a church, it cannot be so. I am committed to the people. I am committed to protect everyone. There is no use threatening me. "The more you threaten or call me names, the more I will proceed... Your criticism will be blessings for us. That will help us move forward. Now we are in Bengal. We will move to Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand and then to Delhi," she said.

She also reiterated that the people would decide what they want to eat or what they wear. No political party can decide that, she said and asked the people not to get provoked by any instigation."Do not fall prey to false propaganda spread through the Internet and social networking site. Social networks have been used to spread false rumours in lieu of money. Huge funds from abroad are coming in for this.

"Don't be scared. Always remember that I am there as your biggest custodian," Banerjee said. Referring to the brandishing of swords at Ram Navami processions by RSS affiliates, she said, "Some locals have popped up suddenly asking people to play with swords. That's not the Bengal's culture," she said adding "Let them learn Bengal's culture first, then comment about the state".
"There is no need to give importance to them," she said.

She also cautioned the people not to get swayed by rumours being floated by some people on social media to incite communal violence and asserted that her government would not allow riots to break out. "Some people are carrying out propaganda on social media to incite communal violence. Do not believe rumours," Banerjee said, addressing a public meeting in Domkal of muslim majority Murshidabad district.

Calling herself "pahradar" (protector) of the masses, she said: "Do not be misled by provocations. We will not allow any riots".

Banerjee referred to the Ram Navmi rallies brought out in various districts recently by the rightwing Hindu organisations with the backing of the Bharatiya Janata Party in which a large number of participants carried swords.

"Our mothers and sisters take part in Sindur Khela (a custom where Hindu married women smear one another with vermillion during religious festivals). This is the culture of Bengal. And not the sword fights which some gentlemen from have imported from Delhi," she said.

Apparently targeting the BJP, Banerjee said a political party could not decide what people will eat or not just because it is in power.

"Whether I have rice and lentils or fish and rice... how can you decide what people will eat or not?.

"What people will eat that is their business.Just because a certain political party is in power, it cannot decide that," she said.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Apr 12, 2017 19:02:45 IST

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