Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday warned against attempts by some people to instigate riots through fake videos on social media.
Banerjee, who was addressing a government function at Netaji Indoor Stadium here, urged police constables, homeguards and civic volunteers present at the programme to be on guard against any possible attempt to spread doctored videos through fake WhatsApp groups.
“There can be many WhatsApp groups which spread fake messages to engineer riots. Be always on guard against any such attempt to foment trouble,” she told the gathering.
“They (the groups) are saying whatever they like without verifying facts. They spread falsehoods. Remember they had also branded the agitating farmers in Delhi as terrorists in the past,” Banerjee said without naming anyone.
The chief minister announced that 680 former linkmen of terror outfit Kamtapur Liberation Organisation and 420 former Maoists who have surrendered and joined the mainstream are being recruited as homeguards.
“You had been with different organisations opposed to the government for ideological reasons. Now when you will be donning the uniform and wearing the cap I know you will be forever alert to serve the nation, the people,” she said.
Banerjee said the next of kin of 530 Maoists and KLO activists, who are either dead in violence or missing, will also be recruited as special home guards.
Complimenting the police force for its tireless sacrifice during the peak of he COVID-19 pandemic, she said 75 police personnel had died due to the contagion. “The government gave Rs 10 lakh to the families of each of the deceased policeman and a job to the next of kin. But no monetary compensation can make up the irreparable loss.”
She said the family of each of the 16,000 police personnel infected by coronavirus had been given Rs one lakh each.
The chief minister said 162 new police stations came up in nine and half years of Trinamool Congress rule and 30 cyber police stations had been set up.
Banerjee said there will be 10 per cent quota for civic volunteers to the posts of home guards.
“Our police men are the best in the country – firm in their duty but with a human face. They had donated blood everyday during the peak COVID-19 period when there was a dearth of blood camps. They had risked their lives,” she said.
The chief minister inaugurated virtually a slew of development projects for the poor and marginalised people under ‘Jagroto Bangla’ programme – a new initiative of the state government.
The projects included the Adivasi Bhavan for tribals, Lepcha Bhavan and Bonorini Market Complex at Bonhooghly in the city. She also handed over keys and ownership deeds to the shop owners and building named ‘Mahatoron’ at the pilgrim town of Tarapith, apart from giving employment to sportspersons in Jangalmahal area of south Bengal.