West Bengal communal riots: Mamata Banerjee accuses BJP of spreading rumours through social media

Kolkata: Accusing the BJP of misusing social media to spread rumour leading to communal riots, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said her government has decided to raise a peace-keeping force to maintain sectarian harmony in the state.

"Social media is being misused. They (BJP) are spreading rumours through social media. This is a trend of the BJP ... a modern design of the party ... That is why we are trying to caution common people," Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat this evening.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. PTI

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. PTI

"The government has decided to raise a peace-keeping force involving local people mandated to maintain peace with assistance from the state administration and police," she said.

Banerjee announced her government's decision to raise the peace-keeping force, to be called Shanti Bahini, amid the prevailing communal strife in the North 24 Parganas district, threatening to derail the state's inter-faith harmony.

Shanti Bahini would be be stationed at over 60,000 booths across the state to maintain the communal harmony, the chief minister said.

Pointing fingers at the BJP, the chief minister said a conspiracy was on to foment trouble and communal tension in the state.

Shanti Bahinis would keep an eye on elements trying to disrupt harmony in its locality, she said adding the members of the mandir (temple) and masjid (mosque) committees too would be urged to join the league.

"This is BJP's modern design ... I have seen images of some incidents happening outside the state and the country, shown as happening here. I want the people to be alert in this regard," Banerjee said.

"The BJP has no license to incite riots. But they are doing it. They are spreading hatred among people," she said.

"Posting the photograph of an incident that happened in Bangladesh, they (BJP) were trying to spread a rumour that there had been a communal riot in West Bengal," she said, referring to a rumour of stampede in Gangasagar Mela, which, she said, "had not happened at all."

The chief minister alleged the BJP has been hatching the "conspiracy" against her party and the government because it "failed to fight TMC politically, economically, socially and on developmental issues."

"We have been noticing this for quite sometime. There has been a conspiracy going on. Some people are trying to stop Trinamool Congress speaking for people's cause," she said.

"There was a meeting in south Kolkata. If it had been in an area with people from mixed communities, then a communal flare up could have taken place ... and the BJP is doing this directly under their party flag," she alleged.

Elaborating on the role of the peace-keeping force, Banerjee said, "They will be on look out for people trying to create division in the society and disrupt its peace."

"The police alone cannot do everything. These Shanti Bahinis will be in every booth of the state. Local police stations will form Shanti Bahinis involving the youth, students and peace-loving people from the locality," she said.

Updated Date: Jul 06, 2017 07:22 AM

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