Featured Image: A policeman (encircled) jointly working with Army personnel in collecting data on goods vehicles in Darjeeling Hills. Photo released by the Army.
By A Newsman
Kolkata, 02 November: MAMATA Banerjee has accused Union Defence minister of furnishing false formation in Parliament as regards deployment of Army at toll plazas in Bengal and has said that a legal action against the Army has been initiated for the deployment keeping the state in the dark.
She has not elaborated what exactly is the legal action that Bengal is processing against the Army.
This is even as she sounded somewhat defensive as regards her yesterday’s allegation that Army was collecting money from vehicles and said that she made the observation after seeing a news clipping in a Bengali TV channel.
“What the government has told Parliament is absolutely wrong, misleading, misinformation, disinformation, and is a concocted story. We respect Army but they should not be used for political vendetta,” the Bengal Chief Minister told news persons this evening while leaving state secretariat Nabanna after almost 30-hours.
She had stayed back at Nabanna last night in protest against the deployment of Army at various toll plazas / highways in the state to collect information about goods vehicles that could be requisitioned for military purposes in the event of an emergency.
“Other than the toll plaza near Nabanna for which permission was declined by our police, they did not seek permission for the exercise at any other place. Whereas, in almost 80 per cent of the state, Army personnel were deployed,” Banerjee said. “Army is still deployed in 3/4 places; if they are not withdrawn we will initiate legal action.”
But contradicting the Bengal CM once again, the Army almost simultaneously released a 29 November letter (photo above) issued by the sub-divisional officer of Kalimpong in Darjeeling Hills deputing two clerks of the state government to assist Army in the data collection exercise.
Some photographs, where Army and state police personnel are seen working jointly in the exercise, have also been released to the media. Defence ministry’s chief spokesperson Wing Commander SS Birdi said that if needed they could release more such letters from state government officers, clearly showing that the state authorities were clearly in the loop.
Banerjee accused the Narendra Modi-led Central government of targeting Bengal because she was fighting against demonetisation. “Other than Bengal, Army did not carry out this exercise in any other state. Bengal has been targeted because we are raising voice in people’s interest.”
The Chief Minister, who is also the chief of Trinamool, thundered that her “fight for the people” could not be suppressed by “hoodwinking.” “Sirf Modi khayega or koi nehi khayega, yein Hindustan mein nehi chalega (only Modi will make money and other will not, this will not be allowed in India),” she said.
Earlier in the day Trinamol MLAs led by parliamentary affairs minister Partha Chatterjee went to Raj Bhavan in Kolkata to lodge their protest to Governor KN Tripathi against Army deployment. Since Governor is out of town, they held a demonstration in front of Raj Bhavan instead.