‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan row: Mamata’s routes to be sanitised

Alternative routes for West Bengal CM’s convoy to avoid confrontations with BJP activists chanting Jai Shri Ram

Published: 03rd June 2019 11:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd June 2019 11:11 AM   |  A+A-

RSS workers participate in path-sanchalan (route march) in Murshidabad district of West Bengal on Sunday | pti

Express News Service

KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s pique over ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans have forced the director general of police (DGP) to hold meetings with all police superintendents, asking them to sanitise the routes of sloganeering crowds which her convoy could pass through during her programmes. They have also been asked to identify alternatives routes to avoid confrontations with BJP activists chanting such slogans.

The State Intelligence Branch (IB) has also been asked to carry out intensified visual inspections to identify such zones long before the CM’s convoy passes. A police officer said there is nothing wrong with the ‘Jai Shri Ram’ chant. “But the manner in which the CM and other Trinamool leaders have reacted and the way the BJP has used it has changed the situation.”

Rajeev Mishra, IG western range, said IB sleuths in districts would keep a vigil in the area once the CM’s schedule is announced. “They have been asked to activate their source networks to collect information from insiders among local BJP activists and inform if they intended to raise slogans on routes which the CM could use. If there is any last minute information about such a possibility, we will use an alternative route, which will be disclosed only to a section of policemen responsible for the CM’s security.’’

The decision to intensify the vigil was taken after CM Mamata Banerjee lost her cool in public when confronted with the chant. On her way to join a protest rally at Bhatpara in Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency last week, Mamata got down from her vehicle twice after a section of BJP supporters chanted the slogan. She labelled them ‘outsiders’ and ‘criminals’ while directing police to take action. Next day, seven persons were rounded up and later released on bail.

An IB officer said the agency was asked by DGP Virendra to sanitise the route of Mamata’s convoy. “Since the CM is a Z-plus protectee, we will keep an eye on people carrying flags or placards,’’ said an IB officer. Cashing on the situation, newly-elected BJP MP Arjun Singh said his party will send 10 lakh postcards with “Jai Sri Ram” written on them to Mamata.

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