Trinamool Congress increases pressure on CM Sonowal after Assam killings
Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee on Friday sought a court-monitored inquiry into the killing of five Bengali-speaking people in Assam's Tinsukia district and demanded the resignation of the state's BJP chief minister over the incident.
BJP leaders in West Bengal, however, asked the ruling TMC not to play politics over the killings.
Three members of a family were among the five people gunned down by a group of assailants on Thursday evening at Kheronbari village, at the edge of Dhola-Sadiya bridge, in Tinsukia.
One person, who fell off the bridge, survived the firing.
TMC Youth Congress president Abhishek Banerjee, who is the nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, took out a rally Friday morning from Jadavpur 8B bus stand to Hazra crossing, in south Kolkata, to protest against the incident.
"We demand Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal's resignation and a court-monitored inquiry into the killing of five Bengalis. We don't have any faith in the CBI, as it is busy with its power tussle," the TMC leader said at a rally in Kolkata.
The party organised similar rallies across the state to condemn the killings.
The attack on Bengali-speaking people in Assam is "fallout of the draconian NRC exercise", which omitted the names of 40 lakh people from the citizenship draft, Abhishek Banerjee claimed.
The complete draft of the National Register of Citizens, touted to be a proof of Assamese identity, was published in July with names of 2.9 crore people.
More than 40 lakh people, including Bengali-speaking individuals, did not make it to the list and they are facing deportation from the country, he said.
"Thursday's attack on Bengalis is also an attack on West Bengal, our culture and heritage. The people of the country are fed up with this anti-people government," he said.
"Who are they (the BJP) to decide on citizenship? The people of this country want a pro-people and secular government at the Centre. We should all fight together to defeat the BJP in the next election," he said.
Abhishek Banerjee also asserted that the ruling TMC would not allow a similar NRC exercise in West Bengal.
"As long as the TMC is in power, there would be no NRC exercise in Bengal, as we don't believe in divisive politics. We should all vow to ensure that the BJP loses the Lok Sabha election," he added.
The chief minister, in a Twitter post Thursday, wondered if the attack was related to developments surrounding the NRC draft.
Reacting to Abhishek Banerjee's demand for Sonowal's resignation, BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha said the TMC should stop playing politics over dead bodies.
"In Assam people are getting killed by terrorists and in Bengal people are getting killed by goons of the TMC. So the TMC should not lecture others, they should stop playing dirty politics over dead bodies," Sinha said.
TMC leaders in various parts of the state took out rallies covering their faces with a black cloth in protest against the killing.
Mamata Banerjee and several senior TMC leader turned their Twitter profile pictures black for a day to condemn the killings and express their solidarity to the statewide protests against the incident.
"In solidarity, on #ProtestDay to condemn the brutal killings of Bengalis by a state ruled by the #BJP, we are turning our Twitter/FB DPs into black. Street protests throughout #Bengal. Please turn your DP into black for today," the party said on its official Twitter handle.
(With inputs from agencies.)