Governor threatened me, says Mamata after West Bengal's North 24 Parganas erupt over objectional Facebook post

July 05 2017

Communal clashes broke out in West Bengal's North 24 Parganas district on Tuesday night following an "objectionable" Facebook post, prompting the government to rush in 400 BSF troopers to assist the localadministration in controlling the situation.

Though there was no official confirmation about any casualties during the clashes, the incident triggered an unprecedented spat between chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, whom she accused of acting like "a BJP block president" and "threatening" her.

TheRaj Bhawan voiced surprise over Mamata's "attitude and language", and said, "the Hon'ble Governor cannot remain a mute spectator of the affairs in the state." Tripathi, a former BJP veteran and ex-speaker of Uttar Pradesh Assembly, was appointed West Bengal governor after the Narendra Modi government was formed in 2014.

The violence between two communities at Baduria under Basirhat sub-division in the district started on Monday night over the post following which a young man was arrested, the police said on Tuesday. A violent mob put up road blockades at several places and attacked members of other community, besides destroying many shops, they said.

Shops were shut down in Baduria as tension prevailed there and spread to adjacent areas like Keosha market, Banshtala, Ramchandrapur and Tentulia, the police said.

Asenior Border Security Force (BSF) officer said four companies comprising 400 troops of the force's South Bengal Frontier have been deployed in Bashirhat, Swarupnagar, Baduria and Devganga areas to assistthe state police in containing the situation.

Severalincidents of communal clashes have been reported in the state during recent times. Mamata, while strongly reacting to her conversation with Tripathi over the incident, said she felt so offended that "I once even thought of leaving (quitting as chief minister)".

A Raj Bhavan statement quoted Tripathi as having said nothing happened during the talks over which Mamata should feel "insulted, threatened or humiliated". "The talks between the Hon'ble chief minister and the Hon'ble governor were confidential in nature and none is expected to disclose it," a statement issued by Raj Bhavan in Kolkata said.

Itsaid that the governor asked the chief minister to ensure peace and lawand order by all means.

Mamata said, "Someone had posted something objectionable on Facebook. He was arrested. Where is the fault of my government." The West Bengal government has dispatched a special team of the state police and Kolkata Police to the riot-hit area to monitor the situation.

In an indirect reference to Modi's Israel visit, Mamata said, "He is going abroad to forge unity and the country is on fire. This must be stopped." She said, "I told police to stop it. They should have blocked the Facebook account. But, how many Facebook accounts can be blocked? Ifthe police had opened fire, 200 people would have been killed."

The chief minister appealed to top leaders of both the communities that her government would not tolerate "this hooliganism".

State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said if the governor asked her about the incident, where was the question of her being insulted.

Governor threatened me, says Mamata after West Bengal's North 24 Parganas erupt over objectional Facebook post