Continuing its criticism of the Centre over the issue of army presence at toll plazas in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Benerjee has threatened to move court. The ruling party has also demanded the documentary proof to prove that the state government had “invited” or given “permission” for the army exercise.
Claiming that the Kolkata Police had in fact written a letter stating that Army should “not be sent” to the state, Trinamool’s Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien said he will table the letter before Parliament when it meets next week on Monday.
“The central government should show us a single letter which proves that the West Bengal government had invited army to the state. There is no such letter,” O’Brien claimed.
“There is only one letter written by Kolkata Police Additional Commissioner…I will table that letter on Monday morning (in Parliament)…it says that the army should not be sent there. Show us a letter or document which says the army was given permission,” he said criticising the Centre further.
Meanwhile, West Bengal Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi disapproved of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s remarks, saying one should be careful while making allegations against a responsible organisation like the army.
“Every person should be careful while making allegations against a responsible organisation like army,” Tripathi told reporters.
The issued echoed in Parliament on Friday with TMC alleging a “sinister” design behind the move.
On its part, the Central government rejected Trinamool’s allegations, terming the development as “routine” exercise conducted in full knowledge of the local authorities.
“The Army’s deployment was part of routine exercise which has been going on for several years, which has been going on for last 15-20 years. Even last year it was held on November 19 to 21,” Union Defence minister Manohar Parrikar said in Lok Sabha.
Clarifying it was “not unique to West Bengal”, Parrikar said similar operations to collect information on heavy vehicle movement that can be used during national emergencies were conducted in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand last month.
Along with West Bengal, similar exercise was carried out in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, Meghlaya and Mizoram, he added.
Later in the day, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, who had sat in the secretariat building for nearly 30 hours in protest, accused the Centre of running the administration in a dictatorial way.
“There is a system in every federal structure. If a government wants information it can talk to the other government… But look at the attitude of this (Centre) government. I do not know what they think of themselves,” she said.
The Trinamool Congress is also contemplating moving court against the move to deploy army at 19 toll plazas across the state.