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Malda violence: BJP and CPI-M delegation team stopped while entering in Kaliachak

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Kolkata/New Delhi: Delegations of opposition parties BJP and CPI-M were on Monday prevented from proceeding to violence-hit Kaliachak in Malda district by the administration, triggering a war of words between political opponents in West Bengal.

Eight days after the violence during which a police station was attacked and BSF vehicles torched, the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress accused the BJP and the RSS of trying to turn a “criminal issue” into a “communal” one in view of the upcoming assembly polls.

The BJP called the January 3 violence a “planned action” and flayed the administration for stopping its parliamentarians.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist alleged that the state administration was not allowing opposition parties to proceed to Kaliachak as it had “something to hide”.

The three BJP MPs — BhupendraYadav, Ram Vilas Vedanti and SS Ahluwalia — sent by the party on a ‘fact finding mission’ were detained on Monday morning soon after they alighted from the Gaur Express at Malda station, 30 km from Kaliachak.

Ahluwalia, the sole Bharatiya Janata Party LokSabha member from Bengal, told reporters that the team’s only purpose was to ascertain the truth and restore the confidence of the people.

“We told the Malda district administration that we have come to ascertain the truth, we have not come to instigate or incite anyone. We wanted to restore the confidence of the people.”

Police told the MPs that prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure had been clamped at Kaliachak, as added by Ahluwalia.

“They (police) told us that our presence will lead to problems, and the situation would deteriorate.”

The MPs spent three hours at the station before they were “forced to board” the Shatabdi Express.

Yadav termed the act “condemnable”.

Hours later, a CPI-M delegation headed by LokSabha member Mohammad Salim was also stopped.

Salim, also a Communist Party of India-Marxist politburo member, said that despite having given prior intimation to the district administration about their visit, they were stopped by a large posse of policemen at Amriti, about 35 km from Kaliachak.

“They said our visit could trigger law and order problems. Though I told them that my aim was to ascertain the facts by talking to the people, they refused to budge,” said Salim.

“I wonder if the administration has something to hide. And so it is stopping all opposition parties from going to the troubled spot.”

Trinamool chief national spokesperson Derek O’Brien accused the BJP parliamentary team of trying to go to Kaliachak to fuel “communal tension”.

“This was a ‘criminal issue’ but the BJP/RSS, as is their strategy, tried to turn it into a ‘communal issue’.”

O’Brien said the situation at Kaliachak was “tense”, but never “got out of hand” and praised the police for handling the issue “tactfully”.

“Thankfully, no deaths occurred, no injuries and 10 people have been arrested.”

The Trinamool Rajya Sabha member alleged that the “BJP/RSS were trying for the last one week to present, what I call, CIN 100: Communally Insensitive Narrative, 100 days before the state goes to polls.”

In Delhi, BJP national secretary Sidharth Nath Singh said party leaders will meet union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and seek an investigation by an appropriate agency into the violence.

“An incident happens on December 1 and the reaction happens on January 3… it took more than 30 days. If there was a communal reaction, it had to be spontaneous. Therefore, it was not a communal reaction, but a planned action.”

The BJP leader said Malda had become a hub for drug trade as authorities overlooked opium cultivation, asking why the West Bengal chief minister did not make efforts to stop such cultivation.

According to reports, protesting against remarks allegedly made to “hurt religious sentiments” in Uttar Pradesh, a large number of people on January 3 went on a rampage in Kaliachak, torching vehicles including those belonging to the Border Security Force (BSF) and also attacked the police station.(IANS) (Picture Courtesy:theweek.in)

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Saw AAP MLAs Assaulting Chief Secretary, CM’s Advisor Tells Police

The AAP defended by stating that Jain had initially told police that he did not witness any assault and police has threatened Jain to change his statement

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The AAP had denied the charges of assault and said that the Chief Secretary was making allegations at the behest of the BJP. Wikimedia Commons

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s adviser V. K. Jain on Thursday told police that he saw AAP MLAs Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal “physically assaulting” Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash, according to Jain’s statement recorded by the Delhi Police.

The AAP defended by stating that Jain had initially told police that he did not witness any assault and police has threatened Jain to change his statement.

On Tuesday, the Chief Secretary had alleged that he was beaten up by the two AAP MLAs in the presence of Kejriwal at the Chief Minister’s residence on Monday night, where he had been called for an emergency meeting.

ALSO READ: The assault on Chief Secretary exposes the double standards of AAP government

Police later arrested Khan and Jarwal and they were sent to judicial custody till Thursday.

According to the Chief Secretary, the Chief Minister’s adviser had called him over the phone and asked him to come to the Chief Minister’s residence for the meeting and Jain was also present there.

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According to the statement, Jain also saw that the Chief Secretary’s spectacles had fallen to the ground and the Chief Secretary picked them up and left the room. Wikimedia Commons

On Thursday, the Delhi Police submitted Jain’s statement at a city court, which said that Jain had gone to the washroom during the meeting and as he came out he saw the two AAP MLAs “physically assaulting” the Chief Secretary.

The statement was recorded under Section 161 of the CrPC, which means that it was recorded in front of the police and not a magistrate.

Sources told IANS that Jain later recorded his statement in front of a magistrate under section 164 of the CrPC.

“The statement under section 164 was later recorded with the magistrate in front a camera, without the presence of police. In that statement also he (Jain) has said that he saw the two MLAs physically assaulting the Chief Secretary,” a police officer privy to the case told IANS.

The officer said that the statement under section 164 has also been submitted to the court.

Jain was first questioned on Wednesday morning and then again on Thursday and his statement was recorded on Thursday.

The change in Jain’s statement that the AAP was referring to was from a “question and answer” with Jain recorded by police after questioning him on Wednesday.

According to a copy of Wednesday’s “question and answer” recorded by police, when asked whether Jain saw the Chief Secretary being manhandled, he replied that he had gone to the washroom in between the meeting and he could not say what happened during that time.

“By putting pressure on him (Jain) throughout the day (Thursday) and by threatening him, police has forced him to change his statement,” AAP MP Sanjay Singh told the media here on Thursday.

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Singh said that the whole issue was a conspiracy to “bring down the Delhi government” and to “defame the AAP”. Wikimedia Commons

 

“How is it that the same Jain who emphatically said yesterday that he witnessed no assault during the entire time that he was present there has now claimed otherwise?” he asked.

Singh said that AAP MLAs were being arrested over an alleged assault of which there was no proof.

“But on the other hand, despite there being video footage of officials assaulting Delhi Cabinet Minister Imran Hussain, there is no action taken against the guilty by the Delhi Police,” the AAP MP said.

The court on Thursday sent the two AAP MLAs, arrested on charges of assaulting the Chief Secretary, to judicial custody for 14 days.

ALSO READ: Delhi Chief Secretary row: AAP MLA arrested

Orders on the bail pleas of the two AAP MLAs and also on their police custody will be pronounced on Friday.

Meanwhile, scores of Delhi government employees across the city observed a five-minute silence outside their respective offices as a protest against the alleged assault on the Chief Secretary.

The IAS Association said that officers would continue the protest every day, till steps are taken to “ensure safety and dignity” of government staff in the city.

The AAP also hit out at Lt Governor Anil Baijal by stating that he was “working as a BJP agent” and demanded action against those involved in “manhandling and beating up” Hussain and his aide at the Delhi Secretariat on Tuesday. (IANS)