West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Tuesday, 15 June, penned a letter to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, and accused her of ‘continued silence’ over the violence that unravelled in the state after the Assembly elections, saying that her administration has failed to offer rehabilitation and compensation to the victims.
"“I am constrained to observe your continued silence and inaction over post poll retributive bloodshed, violation of human rights, outrageous assault on dignity of women, wanton destruction of property, perpetuation of untold miseries on political opponents – worst since Independence – and it augurs ill for democracy.” " - Jagdeep Dhankar, West Bengal Governor
Responding to allegations of undermining democracy, the Home Department castigated Dhankhar for his violation of the official communication format, and stated that the letter’s contents were fabricated.
What the Letter Said
The open letter came hours prior to his departure to the national capital, and urged the CM to arrange a meeting regarding the indicated concerns at the earliest.
Saying that Banerjee’s ‘studied silence’ and her inaction concludes that this is “state-drive,” the governor added:
"“Such ‘punitive’ decimation of human rights and dignity shames democracy. In spite of your attention having been drawn to the enormity of situation, huge exodus of people in search of cover for life and destruction of property worth crores, there has only been stunning silence at your end and you did not deem it necessary to even deliberate this grave human tragedy in any of the cabinet meetings so far.”" - Jagdeep Dhankhar
He went on to highlight that during his visit to violence-affected areas like Coochbehar, Nandigram, and Ranpagli in Assam, he heard of heart-rending tales of people being maltreated and brutalised for exercising their right to vote – notedly, for the Opposition.
Since his takeover in July 2019, Dhankhar and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government have been at odds on several issues. The governor also accused the state police and administration of being partisan.
Citing the 17 May debacle, when the CM had unexpectedly “spent six hours at the CBI office at Nizam Palace seeking release of the arrested persons,” the governor claimed there the state is descending into lawlessness.
In conclusion, Dhankhar urged the TMC chief to deliberate the issue of post-poll violence in the Cabinet, take all steps to restore law and order, and provide aid to the suffering people.
State Government’s Response
Responding to the public letter, WB’s Home Department censured Dhankhar for damaging the “sanctity of such communications.”
Asserting that its contents are inconsistent with reality, it added, “The unusual step of going public in this manner abruptly and unilaterally has shocked the Government of West Bengal all the more because the contents are fabricated.”
The department went on to contend that the law and order in the state had witnessed deterioration when the Election Commission of India was in charge during polls, the State Cabinet has tackled the situation and restored normalcy after the swearing-in ceremony of CM Banerjee.
“...the Government remains committed to maintain the basic fabric of society and to uphold law and order,” the state’s response stated.
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