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Bengal Guv cancels Chopra visit, accuses govt of supporting mob attacks

The Governor, who was scheduled to visit Chopra to meet the flogged couple, cancelled his trip to Chopra in Uttar Dinajpur district as the victims who live there wished to meet him at Raj Bhavan.
Last Updated : 02 July 2024, 20:39 IST

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Kolkata: Amid widespread outrage over last week's public flogging of a couple in West Bengal, Governor C V Ananda Bose on Tuesday accused the Mamata Banerjee government of supporting mob attacks, prompting a sharp response from the ruling TMC which asked him to act impartially.

The Governor, who was scheduled to visit Chopra to meet the flogged couple, cancelled his trip to Chopra in Uttar Dinajpur district as the victims who live there wished to meet him at Raj Bhavan.

Bose, instead, visited Cooch Behar to meet other alleged victims of atrocities upon his arrival from New Delhi on Tuesday morning.

The BJP women legislators demonstrated outside the West Bengal assembly for the second consecutive day, protesting against the assault on the couple in Chopra and the alleged torture of a woman in Cooch Behar.

The TMC issued a show-cause notice to its Chopra MLA Hamidul Rehaman for his controversial remarks supporting the public flogging of the couple.

After meeting women victims of atrocities in Cooch Behar, the governor criticized the state government over recent incidents of lynching and mob attacks, declaring that Bengal is no longer safe for women.

"Such incidents are happening under the leadership, support, and patronage of the state government. The ruling party, bureaucrats, and corrupt police personnel are behind these incidents," Bose stated after meeting the victims.

"There have been incidents of violence in Bengal since last year's panchayat elections. This can't continue. The state government should take action against these," said Bose, who has had strained relations with the state government over various issues.

Instead of addressing these issues, the government is using money to fuel and spread the violence, he alleged.

Bose questioned Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who also serves as the state's Home Minister, for not submitting a report on the Chopra flogging incident that he had sought on Monday.

“It is my constitutional responsibility, and it is also the responsibility of the CM that if I call for a report on any matter, it should be given on time," he said.

He added that this has not been done, accusing the CM of trying to create a constitutional hurdle.

"I am serious about this matter. Whatever action is needed will be taken." When asked why he skipped visiting Chopra, Bose explained "I was requested by the Chopra victims to meet them privately at Raj Bhavan. I granted their request.

He added that the victims could meet him anywhere, whether at Raj Bhavan or elsewhere.

The individuals who met him had reached out to the Raj Bhavan's 'Peace Room,' expressing their desire to seek justice.

The man seen in a viral video beating the couple with a bamboo stick was identified as Tajmul alias 'JCB,' a purported TMC leader of the Chopra area. The incident, captured in a video on Friday, led to widespread public outrage.

The TMC strongman was arrested on Sunday afternoon and faces charges, including attempted murder, assault with intent to outrage the modesty of a woman, and voluntarily causing grievous hurt.

Islam tortured the couple with bamboo sticks after they were accused of having an illicit relationship by a kangaroo court.

Islam is a notorious figure in the locality with a history of criminal activities. He was previously involved in a murder case in Chopra in 2021," an IPS officer told PTI.

Known for his close association with Chopra MLA Hamidul Rahman, Islam was previously arrested in 2023 for his alleged involvement in the murder of CPI(M) leader Mansur Naimul just before the panchayat elections.

The ruling Trinamool Congress on Tuesday issued a show-cause notice to its Chopra MLA Hamidul Rahman for his remarks supporting the public flogging.

A senior TMC leader stated, "The party in no way supports the incident or the remarks made by the MLA." Responding to the incident, Rahman had said, "The couple was engaged in an illicit relationship, which is why they were flogged. They were polluting society through their activities. The woman was at fault for getting involved in an illicit relationship despite having a son and husband.

The TMC, however, criticized the governor for his remarks against the state government.

"The governor must act impartially. He is acting as per the instructions of the BJP," TMC leader Kunal Ghosh said.

BJP's Asansol MLA Agnimitra Paul and three other legislators, staged a demonstration outside the West Bengal assembly for the second consecutive day, demanding punishment for those involved in the incidents.

Paul told reporters that the women in West Bengal are "not safe" under TMC rule.

Meanwhile, a housewife in West Bengal's Jalpaiguri district died by suicide after allegedly being harassed by a group of people over her "extramarital affair," police said on Tuesday.

Four people, including two women, were arrested in connection with the incident, which occurred amid the ongoing furore over the flogging.

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Published 02 July 2024, 20:39 IST

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