KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday alleged that vicious rumours were being spread and if it could be proved that West Bengal government has said there will be no Durga Puja this year, she "will do sit-ups in front of people 100 times".
"A political party is spreading vicious rumours about Durga Puja, so far we haven't had any meeting on it. Prove that West Bengal govt has said there will be no Durga Puja, I will do sit-ups in front of people 100 times," the Chief Minister said while addressing the Observance of Police Day function through video conference.
"Some fake IT pages are spreading misinformation on Durga Puja. I am asking the police to find out these people who purposely spread fake news and make them hold their ears and do sit-ups. Only fake news is being spread to destroy communal harmony. Those who have never worshipped Kali and Durga or Hanuman are talking about puja," she added.
The existing COVID-19 lockdown measures in West Bengal have been extended till September 20.
Banerjee, during a programme here to mark Bengal's first Police Day, said the two forces have been diligently performing their duties and providing all possible help to the people of the state, amid the crisis.
Bengal had observed Police Day on September 1, but the programme was postponed to September 8, as the state was mourning the demise of former president Pranab Mukherjee.
"The police forces in the state are humane and brave.
They should not pay heed to any adverse comment and keep up the good work," Banerjee said at the programme.
Several police personnel received medals and certificates for their services at the programme.
"Apart from maintaining law and order, they have also donated blood during this pandemic. Several members of the force, who had contracted the disease and recovered, are donating plasma for COVID-19 treatment, thus saving the lives of many patients," Banerjee said.
She congratulated the family members for standing beside the police personnel, as they worked tirelessly to combat the COVID situation.
"The Kolkata Police, which was once equated with the Scotland Yard, is excelling further, while the West Bengal Police is also faring well," she said, after virtually inaugurating a cyber forensic laboratory, three new police stations at Khardah, Sagarpara and Kalitala Asuti, and 22 other buildings, including some police barracks.
Banerjee said emphasis would be laid on cyber security and those circulating fake news about Bengal through their IT cell and "trying to create communal tension" would be made to do sit-ups, holding their ears.
The chief minister, who also holds the Home (Police) portfolio, further said that junior constables will be promoted to the post of constable after completion of five years in service -- a move that would benefit 3,500 personnel.
She announced terminal benefits of Rs 3 lakh, at the age of 60 years, for home guards, civil defence volunteers, civic volunteers, village police volunteers, Asha workers and auxiliary fire operators.
They will also be entitled to an annual bonus of Rs 2,000.
At least 2.51 lakh people will benefit from the decision, Banerjee said.
Talking about preparations for this year's Durga puja, the CM said the pandemic has shown no sign of waning yet, and decisions will be taken after assessing the situation.
State Home secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay, on the occasion, said that the kin of 20 COVID warriors who succumbed to the infection -- eight personnel of the West Bengal Police, seven of the Kolkata Police, four officials of the health department and one of the personnel department - were being given jobs, under the Compassionate Appointment Scheme, as promised by the government.
Bandopadhyay also said that 24 police personnel have died of COVID-19 in West Bengal so far.
Among others, State Director General of Police Virendra was present at the programme.
(With PTI Inputs)