West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday slammed the Narendra Modi.government for "politicising" the Pulwama terror attack and demanded its ouster for its "failure" to take precautionary measures despite an intelligence alert of a possible attack. Banerjee also accused the Rashtriya Swyamsevak.sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of trying to incite communal violence in her state.
"So many jawans have been killed. We seek punishment for the perpetrators, but responsibility for the negligence must also be fixed. There should be an investigation into the incident," said Banerjee while speaking to reporters at the state Secretariat - Nabanna. Alleging that last month an American intelligence advisory had warned of communal violence in India in the name of elections, the Chief Minister asked: "Why was action not taken despite this intelligence report?"
"Why was a convoy of 78 vehicles transporting over 2,000 troopers allowed to go together when the government had information about a possible attack? Why were precautionary measures not taken? Why have so many people died?" asked Banerjee. She further asked: "Why was the matter not taken seriously despite having intelligence inputs. Usually, such a large convoy is not allowed to pass through sensitive areas."
Banerjee said since Thursday's terror attack, the opposition has stood behind the government without asking any question. "We have kept quiet, but we have seen Modiji and Amit Shah delivering speeches daily. And the way they are speaking, it seems as if they are the only patriotic leaders in the country. This is not right," she said.
"Modiji must tell us what action he has taken between the attacks in Pathankot and Pulwama. What action has he taken in the past five years?" she asked, adding "If he can't take control of the political situation in the country, he should resign." She said the country wants to know who was behind the attack that killed so many people.
"The country will not pardon the BJP and the RSS if they use this opportunity and create violence." Criticising the Centre's role in taking appropriate measures, Banerjee sought to know how much money is being spent on the government's publicity.
"There was a request from CRPF for airlifting. Why were 2,500 jawans not air-lifted? How much money is being spent on publicity (of the government)? Why was the entire area not sanitised?" Banerjee accused right-wing Hindutva organisations BJP, RSS and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) of fomenting communal tension in the country, including Bengal, and announced that she has instructed the police to take strong action against anyone trying to create mischief.
"Kolkata Police and state police forces have been asked to take strong action against the miscreants who try to trigger communal violence...and also communal propaganda by spreading a rumour," she said. She also alleged that the BJP and the RSS are circulating provoking messages and fake news.
Asked about threats to a doctor from Kashmir who has been residing in the city, Banerjee said: "I have heard about it. Steps have been taken." Banerjee said terrorists have no religion.
"Terrorism does not have any religion and caste. People of this country are patriots and love their motherland. BJP should not do any politics to divide the country. "Don't take advantage of the situation. The country will not pardon the BJP and the RSS if they take this opportunity and indulge in violence."
(With inputs from agencies.)