Kolkata: They are at it again. They mean West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Both Mamata Banerjee and Jagdeep Dhankar were Sunday embroiled in a war of words. The governor accused the state police of being ‘highly politicised’. It immediately drew a sharp retort from Mamata. She accused some people of ‘maligning the police for vested political interests’.
Flagging the ‘custodial death’ of BJP worker Madan Ghorai, Governor Dhankhar alleged that the state’s ‘politicised’ police has ‘finger in every pie’ of the governance.
In a letter to Banerjee, Dhankhar said the demise of Ghorai is yet another instance of ‘dehumanising torture, assault and death’ in custody. He asserted that such incidents, dotting West Bengal have assumed ‘horrendous proportions, impeaching the credibility of the rule of law’.
Later in the evening, Dhankar met family members of Ghorai. He warned police officials that they ‘are playing with fire’.
Dhankhar then urged Mamata to work in accordance with law and the Constitution. He said ‘you will find your governor working with your government shoulder to shoulder in the service of people’.
Mamata later in the evening, without naming anyone, said, “Some people only believe in blaming and maligning the police force and the state for political gains.”
Dhankhar also expressed concern over the law and order situation in West Bengal. He cited incidents of murder, abduction, rape and the recent ‘custodial death’ of a man.
“It is an open secret that politicised police has ‘finger in every pie’ of the governance, a facet of a police state,” Dhankhar said in his letter.
Ghorai was arrested in Patashpur in East Medinipur district September 26 in connection with a kidnapping case. He was sent to judicial custody the next day. He was later shifted to Kolkata in the first week of October after he fell ill. He died at a city hospital October 13.
“High time you redeem your constitutional oath and enforce the rule of law, ensure ‘democratic governance’ in the state, make police and administration ‘politically neutral’ and accountable,” Dhankhar wrote to the chief minister.
In the evening, while inaugurating various Durga Pujas, Banerjee, without taking names, said that the state police and the administration – despite toiling hard day in and day out to overcome crises – were maligned by some people for political gains.
“Some people only believe in blaming and tarnishing the police force and West Bengal. They forget the work done by the police during crisis situations, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and even at other times. If you show disrespect to someone, you will be paid back in your coin,” asserted Mamata.
The CM also said if someone died of tuberculosis, ‘these people will point fingers towards the law and order situation of West Bengal. They will say the death was caused by (political) violence’.