West Bengal polls: Mamata Banerjee slams Centre over Cooch Behar firing, terms it 'genocide'
The West Bengal chief minister added that she intends to visit Sitalkuchi, the place of the firing, by 14 April but the EC is 'restricting entry' into Cooch Behar district
Siliguri: Describing the incident of firing in Cooch Behar as a "genocide", West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday said the Election Commission has restricted the entry of politicians in the district for 72 hours as it seeks to "suppress facts".
The TMC supremo, while addressing a press meet, claimed that central forces "sprayed bullets aiming at the torso of the victims" in Sitalkuchi area, when the fourth phase of polling was underway in the state.
"There was genocide at Sitalkuchi. I would like to visit Sitalkuchi by 14 April. The EC is trying to suppress facts by restricting entry in Cooch Behar. We have an incompetent home minister and an incompetent central government," Banerjee said.
"যত লোক গুলি করেছে, যতগুলো গুলি করেছে, সব কিন্তু বুকের উপরে করেছে। এটা GENOCIDE।”
— All India Trinamool Congress (@AITCofficial) April 11, 2021
Four persons died on Saturday when CISF personnel opened fire allegedly after coming under attack from locals, who "attempted to snatch their rifles", the police had said.
"The CISF doesn't know how to handle situations. Since the first phase of elections, I had been saying that a section of the central forces are committing atrocities on people. I had flagged the issue in Nandigram, but none paid attention to my words," she stated.
The TMC chief also spoke to the brother of one of the deceased over a video call, in the midst of the press meet, and promised all help to the bereaved family.
The man, on his part, was heard saying that the jawans had opened fire on the voters.
"He (one of the four killed in firing) was standing in a queue when the jawans opened fire. His wife is pregnant. They also have a three-year-old child. Our parents are shocked and devastated," the man told the chief minister. Banerjee asked a local TMC leader, who made arrangements for the video chat from Sitalkuchi, to send her a copy of the FIR filed in connection with the incident.
"I will be addressing election meetings today, but with a heavy heart. The episode keeps haunting me," the chief minister said, adding that party workers will stage protests against the incident across the state.
Taking to Twitter, Banerjee, in a jibe at the poll panel, also said that the "EC should rename MCC (Model Code of Conduct) as Modi Code of Conduct!"
"BJP can use all its might but NOTHING in this world can stop me from being with my people & sharing their pain. They can restrict me from visiting my brothers & sisters in Cooch Behar for 3 days but I WILL be there on the 4th day!," she posted on the microblogging site.
Shah is in the state for a two-day tour to inaugurate and launch several projects on the first anniversary of the Sarma-led state government
On his first day, the home minister is slated to attend the golden jubilee celebrations of Ramakrishna Mission at Narottam Nagar in Arunachal Pradesh's Tirap district on Saturday
While the Amarnath Yatra could not take place in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, about three lakh pilgrims are likely to take part in the 'yatra', this year, which is expected to end on 11 August