In a startling revelation by a sting operation conducted by India Today, it has been claimed that the West Bengal government led by Mamata Banerjee has been deliberately blocking BJP’s Rath Yatra citing false intelligence reports which had claimed of serious law and order issues if the ‘Rath Yatras’ were to be held.
The sting operation conducted by India Today reveals that Mamata Banerjee led TMC government had pressurised the state intelligence officers to submit favorable intelligence reports, claiming fake communal violence threats to deny permission for the BJP to conduct its political rally.
Bengal Intel officers confess that there was pressure from Mamata govt to block BJP’s rath yatra. Watch this special investigation report by @ojasjain11, @mdhizbullah
LIVE: https://t.co/4fqxBVUizL pic.twitter.com/dNzWHUsN3R
— India Today (@IndiaToday) February 8, 2019
Initially, the BJP was supposed to organise 3 Rath Yatras from different locations crisscrossing in the state before finally culminating in Kolkata. Amit Shah was supposed to flag them off and PM Modi was meant to end the campaign by addressing a rally in Kolkata. The state police and administration had then denied permission citing threats of ‘communal disharmony’ in the state.
However, India Today’s Special Investigation Team in a secret operation has now found that there was hardly any specific intelligence of any law and order issues at the time of Rath Yatra to justify the ban.
In the news report shared last night, the India Today team reportedly confronted an intelligence officer in West Bengal’s Bankura district, J.P. Singh, who confessed that he sent reports as ordered by the senior officials stating that BJP’s Rath Yatras could pose serious law and order issues.
JP Singh, replying to a question asked by India Today’s undercover reporter regarding the nature of the information they had regarding the Rath Yatras, said “There was nothing of the sort. If they had permissions, we would have given our protection. But they didn’t have any permission.”
“But Sir, you must have prepared your report,” the reporter probed.
“Yes, that was prepared. Every district prepared it. It’s the same all over,” he answered. “What I am saying is that the master is only one person, not ten people. The report is based on their instructions and sent out accordingly.”
JP Singh further admitted that their report on the proposed Yatra was based on vague inputs. “The instructions came from the top”, he claimed, adding that the intelligence officials in all districts had prepeared similar reports based as per the ‘instructions’ they had recieved.
Another officer, Bappaditya Ghosh, ACP with the special branch in West Bengal’s Paschim Bardhaman district, accused both the Trinamool Congress and the BJP of instigating religious passions. However, he claimed that they had no accurate intelligence about law and order issues that the BJP’s Yatra might have caused in the state.
He further said that they were under some political pressure. “Political pressure, the law, and order situation, the festivals around the time.” He said that he had reported about “a communal problem” in Paschim Bardhaman district in March 2018. He also said that there was no fresh input on the possible law and order issues in the state during BJP Rath Yatras.
The news report also claimed that Madhup Chandra Das, a deputy superintendent of police at the Purba Bardhaman Intelligence Bureau also denied receiving any negative inputs about the BJP’s planned Yatra. Confirming that there would have been no riots if yatra would have taken place in the state, he said they did not have any such information.
In Howrah Rural, intelligence authorities admitted their report to the state government was based on past records and not on the present situation. The local intelligence officers acknowledged there was no information about the fresh disturbance in the current circumstances.
Following the revelation, the BJP has targetted the Mamata Banerjee government and demanded an investigation pertaining to the issue.
“This is an issue of purgery committed by the TMC. And we demand an investigation into this,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra told India Today. “Mamata Banerjee is dictatorial didi. They harbour love and concern for Rohingyas. But for them, PM Modi, Yogi Adityanath, and Amit Shah are characters that should not be allowed to enter Bengal. And you say you love democracy. No, ma’am, you hate democracy. This is India, this is my India, this is your India. Every Indian has every right to travel across the country,” he added.
Rejecting the allegations, the TMC termed the investigation as a conspiracy. Senior party leader Madan Mitra said that the state government had credible information that the BJP plotted to trigger communal unrest in West Bengal. Mitra also rejected suggestions the state’s intelligence network was under pressure to prepare fake reports against the BJP’s Rath Yatra.
“I totally disagree. This is a conspiracy hatched by the leadership of the BJP,” he said. “You know, unnecessarily, the BJP has not spent Rs 4,000 crore on publicity. So, they have purchased almost all media. We were getting several reports from districts, even from the block level, that the BJP is trying to organize communal riots everywhere. So, it is not forged. It is not fake. The reports that have gone from the district level are absolutely true,” the TMC leader insisted.
In recent times the Mamata Banerjee led WB government has also attempted to hold BJP leaders from addressing rallies in the state. Yogi Adityanath had to land in Bokaro and travel to Purulia by road to address a rally there recently because the WB government had denied permission to land his chopper and also attempted to stop the rally. BJP leaders Shivraj Chouhan and Shahnawaz Hussein were also not permitted to address rallies in the state. UP CM Yogi Adityanath had to address a rally via telephone last week because the TMC government had denied him permission to land his chopper for the Balurghat rally.