Kolkata, Jan 15, 2020: JP Bengal unit president Dilip Ghosh on Sunday courted another controversy, saying that in Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka, protesters were "shot like dogs by our government" and rued that not a single bullet has been fired in Bengal during the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
“In Assam and Uttar Pradesh, our government has shot these protesters like dogs. They were arrested and cases were also filed against them,” Ghosh said.
Addressing a public meeting in West Bengal’s Nadia district, Ghosh came down heavily on chief minister Mamata Banerjee "for not opening fire and ordering lathicharge" on those destroying railway property and public transport during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests in the state in December last year.
"Is it the father’s property of those who are setting public property on fire? How can they destroy government property built on tax payers’ money!" Ghosh said.
He said, "The governments of Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Karnataka did the right thing by opening fire on these anti-national elements (during anti-CAA protests)."
"They will come here, enjoy all the facilities and destroy country’s property. Is it their zamindari!" he asked.
Ghosh also called for identifying those "sabotaging the interests" of Hindu Bengalis.
He claimed that there are two crore "Muslim infiltrators" in the country.
"One crore alone is in West Bengal and Mamata Banerjee is trying to protect them," he alleged.
The BJP distance itself from the controversy with Union minister and MP from Asansol Babul Supriyo saying that Ghosh’s remarks was "very irresponsible".
In a tweet, Supriyo said that the BJP governments in Assam and Uttar Pradesh have "never ever resorted to shooting people" and that it was a figment of Ghosh’s "imagination".
"BJP, as a party has nothing to do with what a DIlipGhosh may hv said•It is a figment of his imagination&BJP Govts in UP, Assam hv NEVER EVER resorted to shooting people for whatever reason whatsoever•Very irresponsible of DilipDa to hv said what he said," Supriyo tweeted.
The Trinamul Congress leadership also slammed Ghosh and said the comments reflected the mindset of BJP that brooks no dissent.
"The comments reflect the mindset of the BJP. This is not an isolated statement of Dilip Ghosh. This the mindset and agenda of the BJP....they don’t like dissent," Trinamul secretary general and state minister Partha Chatterjee said.
Ghosh had defended the BJP governments of Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Karnataka for incidents of police firing on violent anti-CAA protesters, saying they did the "right thing".
Sharply reacting to Ghosh’s remarks, CPI(M) alleged the BJP was trying to create an "authoritarian state".
"The BJP has been claiming that the state governments led by them have not opened fire. Now the cat is out of the bag. Dilip Ghosh has spilled the beans. The BJP is trying to create an authoritarian state and killing protesters is a step towards it," senior CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty said.