The tug of war between the ruling party in West Bengal and governor Jagdeep Dhankhar continues after police allegedly prevented BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari from attending an event at a martyr’s memorial in Netai, Jhargram district, on Friday, despite permission from the Calcutta High Court.
Dismayed by the alleged role of the state administration, Adhikari, the leader of the opposition in the West Bengal assembly, wrote a grievance letter to Dhankhar.
Following this, Dhankar has summoned the chief secretary and the director general of police to brief them on January 10.
Later, Dhankar also tweeted, “In view of highly disturbing scenario, reminiscent of emergency, in Jan 07 communications @SuvenduWB WB Guv has directed CS @MamataOfficial & DGP @WBPolice to brief him, fully updated, with written report, on Jan 10 at 11 am.”
Adhikari also tweeted about the incident, saying: “Hon’ble High Court being misled by the State. Preventing me from visiting Netai by deploying thousands of Police personnel, despite assuring Hon’ble Court to the contrary. DG/IGP WB, SP Jhargram, Add’l SP Jhargram & IC Lalgarh committed contempt & now have to face Hon’ble Court.”
Hon’ble High Court being misled by the State. Preventing me from visiting Netai by deploying thousands of Police personnel, despite assuring Hon’ble Court to the contrary. DG/IGP WB, SP Jhargram, Add’l SP Jhargram & IC Lalgarh committed contempt & now have to face Hon’ble Court.— Suvendu Adhikari • শুভেন্দু অধিকারী (@SuvenduWB) January 8, 2022
In his letter, Adhikari asked the governor to take cognizance of the matter, and said the chain of events during his visit to Netai in Jhargram were “astonishing” and a “travesty of the rule of law”.
“You must be aware that on January 7, 2011, armed goons fired indiscriminately at innocent villagers in Netai, Binpur Block, Jhargram. Nine lives were lost and several got injured,” his letter read.
He further said, “At that time, I was among the first responders to reach the site, helped the injured to receive medical aid and recovered the corpses and sent them for a post-mortem. Police at that time were busy shielding perpetrators of the crime as they belonged to the then ruling party… helping hand which I offered to the distraught villagers helped establish a special bonding with them. Recently, I went to Kotulpur, Bankura, to meet slain potato farmer Tapas Kotal’s family members, for providing financial assistance. A large number of police personnel led by additional SP Ganesh Biswas obstructed me. No Section 144 or prohibitory order was in place, nor could he provide any explanation for such restriction.”
Adhikari also said he took permission from the Calcutta High Court as he “anticipated” that he could face a similar situation in Netai. He claimed that he approached the High Court after the Jhargram SP failed to respond his email.
While the HC assured him safe passage, he said the ground reality was far from different. “On my way to Netai, a huge contingent of West Bengal police blocked my way, barricading the whole road. They deliberately defied Calcutta High Court’s order and contradicted AG’s submission. They didn’t allow me to visit Netai. All my requests fell on deaf ears… I marched to Bhimpur village nearby to commemorate the occasion, by paying tributes at a makeshift memorial,” his letter read.
Asked for a comment over the matter, TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, while addressing the media on Saturday after a Covid-19 review meeting with South 24 Parganas district officials, said, “I would like to say the governor should maintain the dignity of his position.”