Kolkata: Expressing concern over the rise of ‘cow protection’ vigilantes, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday asserted the peoples’ “right to choice” and warned against the bid to “saffronise everything”.
Addressing a party rally in the city, the Trinamool Congress supremo strongly condemned the brutal assault on four Dalit youths in Gujarat’s Una town and affirmed any such attempt in Bengal will not be tolerated.
“We strongly condemn the atrocities on the Dalits in Gujarat. In the name of ‘gau raksha’ (cow protection) they are attempting to create communal tension, attempting to create communal strife,” Banerjee said.
“I have also come to know that some elements in connivance with a party are asking people here in Bengal about how many cows they have,” Banerjee said referring to the Gau Raksha Committee, a right-wing outfit which wants a bovine census in Bengal.
“We condemn whatever is happening in Gujarat and if such a thing is tried in Bengal, we will not tolerate that. We will fight politically. People have their right to choice, what they can eat, wear or study. A few people cannot decide what others will eat, wear or study,” declared Banerjee.
“There are attempts to saffronise everything,” she said.
Without taking names, she also warned the Centre against taking people for granted.
“When Pathankot happens, we don’t give our opinion and bat for the country’s unity, when terror attacks happen in Bangladesh we don’t give our opinion. When there is trouble in Kashmir we pray for peace, but don’t give opinions. Then why you are interfering in our matters,” Banerjee said in an apparent reference the central leaders flaying the Trinamool government over law and order issue.
“Being in the government means one to act responsibly. You will be in the government and at the same time try to intimidate us… this is unacceptable,” she said.