LUCKNOW/KOLKATA:More than a month after an RSS leader announced a bounty of `1 crore on Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s head, a youth leader of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) in Uttar Pradesh created a flutter on Tuesday by announcing a bounty of Rs 11 lakh for anyone beheading West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Yogesh Varshney, the BJYM leader, made the bounty announcement in Aligarh. Subsequently, a non-bailable case was filed against Varshney.
Issuing the threat following police action against devotees in Birbhum district of Bengal on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti, Varshney, ex-president of BJYM in Aligarh, said he would pay Rs 11 lakh to the person who brings the severed head of the West Bengal CM.
After circulating a letter on the official letterhead of BJYM to media outlets in Aligarh, Varshney said that for him the sight of police baton-charging innocent devotees who were not affiliated to any political party was “beyond the level of tolerance”.
Calling the police action “unfortunate”, Varshney accused Banerjee of appeasing the minority community. He added that he would write to the UP government to raise the issue with Banerjee. “On seeing the devotees being beaten up by ruthless policemen, the only thought that crossed my mind was that if anyone could bring me the head of the West Bengal CM, I will give that person Rs 11 lakh as reward,” he said.
The police had reportedly refused permission for the rally of devotees and cracked down when the procession was about to enter a street locally called the Madrasa Road.
Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi sought to disown Varshney’s statement. “We don’t subscribe to such statements. State government will take proper action in the case,” he said in Parliament.
In an indirect reply to the bounty announcement, Banerjee in Kolkata stated a popular Hindi proverb to indicate that she is not afraid of death. “Jo dar gaya so mar gaya (One who is afraid is already dead). Elahi bharosa (God is with me),” she said during the inauguration of the fourth unit of the Sagardighi thermal power plant in Murshidabad district of Bengal.
Political parties in Bengal, regardless of their affiliation, condemned Varshney’s bounty announcement. Demanding his arrest, Trinamool Congress leaders dared him to visit Bengal and issue the bounty. The Congress said that despite its sharp differences with the policies of Banerjee, it would never support such statements.