TAREKSWAR: In a veiled attack at the BJP, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday claimed that attempts were being made to disturb peace in West Bengal, with "burqa-clad men" being sent to streets to create panic amid rumours of child lifting.
The TMC chief, addressing an official function here in Hooghly district, said the Pulwama terror strike could have been averted if correct steps were taken on time.
Without naming the BJP, she said attempts were being made to disrupt peace with the intention of creating a divide among people on the basis of religion for political benefit.
"I run a government and I am saying this with full responsibility. I have got information that they have purchased burqas and are creating panic among people spreading rumours about child-lifters. Just when the elections are knocking on the door, they are spreading such rumours," she alleged.
"They are giving money to the people and making them wear burqas. When the scared locals beat up that person taking him/her as child-lifter, these people are creating confusion by dividing the locals as Hindus and Muslims, leading to a riot-like situation. Thus, they are fulfilling their political target of disrupting peace here," she alleged.
Banerjee warned people of such elements and asked them to go to the police to lodge complaint about such incidents.
"Remember that we (her government) are there. Go and take the help of the police. Lodge your complaint at the police station. Do not take up the law in your hands. These are lies, rumours and conspiracy meant to disrupt peace here and political gimmicks spread keeping in mind the upcoming elections," she said.
"If correct measures were taken at the right time then this mishap could have been averted. Nobody would have died. Politics have been played (in this matter)," she claimed, referring to the Pulwama terror strike.
Describing the BJP as political "cuckoo birds", she alleged that they come only when the elections are round the corner.
"You will not see them throughout the year. They are political cuckoo birds who come when the elections are nearing. When the elections are close then they try to create Hindu-Muslim, Sikh-Christian division," she said taking an apparent swipe at the saffron party. Banerjee said she would not let people create political violence in West Bengal.
"I will not let people indulge in divisive politics. The BJP-RSS are doing it. I will not let them do so in our state," she alleged.
West Bengal has witnessed incidents of mob violence in connection with the alleged child-lifting incidents.
So far, 22 cases have been lodged and 40 people arrested across West Bengal, ADG (Law and Order) Siddh Nath Gupta told reporters later on at the state secretariat and added that strict action would be initiated against the culprits.
"There are some people from outside the state who are doing this. We have so far arrested 40 people and lodged 22 cases in this connection. We will take strict action in this connection," Gupta said.
City Police commissioner Anuj Sharma said his force was dealing strictly with the matter of rumours being spread regarding child lifters in and around the city.
"We are dealing with the matter very strictly. There are a few people with political and personal interests doing this. We have spotted a few of them and will take necessary action against them," Sharma said.