Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday said that she would rather die than prove her religion and challenged BJP to compare the religious activities undertaken by the TMC government to that by the previous regimes in the state.
She asserted that more number of Durga pujas are being held in the state under TMC rule than under previous governments. Inaugurating a museum on the 15th century Bengali mystic and saint Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the TMC supremo said she is a Hindu but has respect for other faiths and religions too. Without naming the BJP, Banerjee said "It would be better for me to die rather than prove my religion before entering a Hindu temple. You(BJP) are no one that I have to prove my religion before you".
Her veiled attack on BJP took place on the day her party, the TMC staged a day-long dharna here in protest against the Centre's decision to serve IT notices to Durga puja committees. "I know more Sanskrit scriptures than those who criticise me and question my religious identity. I am a Hindu and I respect all faiths. I don't believe in dividing people on the basis of religion. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu too had said the same thing," she said.
The BJP has time and again accused her of appeasing the Muslim community of the state to secure the minority votes. Referring to BJP's allegations that Durga Puja is being curtailed in the state by the Trinamool Congress government, she said the saffron party should first look into the work it has done since it came to power at the Centre. "More Durga Pujas are being held in the state under the TMC rule than during the previous regimes. Before lecturing us they (BJP) should look into the work they have done after coming to power," Banerjee said.
"I challenge them (BJP) to compare the number of religious work that our eight-year-old government has done and that by the previous regimes. We believe in humanity and religion means humanity. It teaches us to love and respect every human being. Religion does not teach us to divide the people," she said. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu preached love and peace and was assaulted. "So was social reformer Raja Rammohan Roy. But they were undeterred," she added.