WB BJP chief says anti-CAA protesters 'shot like dogs'

PTI file photo

West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh has kicked up a row with his remark that "anti-CAA protesters were shot like dogs in BJP-ruled states", provoking criticism from political rivals and his own partymen.

Addressing a public meeting in Nadia district on Sunday, Ghosh slammed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee "for not opening fire and ordering lathicharge" on those destroying public property during the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protests in the state in December.

"Didi's police didn't take action against those who destroyed public property as they are her voters. Our governments in Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Karnataka shot these people like dogs," Ghosh had said.

Union minister and BJP leader Babul Supriyo termed Ghosh's comments as "irresponsible".

"BJP, as a party has nothing to do with what a DIlipGhosh may hv saidIt is a figment of his imagination&BJP Govts in UP, Assam hv NEVER EVER resorted to shooting people for whatever reason whatsoeverVery irresponsible of DilipDa to hv said what he had," Supriyo said in a tweet.

The Trinamool Congress leadership came down heavily on Ghosh and said the comments reflected the mindset of BJP that brooks no dissent.

"The comments reflect the mindset of the BJP. This is not an isolated statement of Dilip Ghosh. This the mindset and agenda of the BJP....they don't like dissent," TMC secretary-general and state minister Partha Chatterjee said.

Ghosh had defended the BJP governments of Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Karnataka for incidents of police firing on violent anti-CAA protesters, saying they did the "right thing".

The BJP leader said those involved in arson and vandalism should be shot, like in Uttar Pradesh.

"They will come here, enjoy all the facilities and destroy the country's property. Is it their zamindari?" he asked, and demanded that those "sabotaging" the interests of Hindu Bengalis needed to be identified.

He had also claimed there were two crore "Muslim infiltrators" in the country and over one crore were illegally staying in West Bengal. "Mamata Banerjee is trying to protect them," he alleged.

Sharply reacting to Ghosh's remarks, the CPI-M alleged the BJP was trying to create an "authoritarian state".

"The BJP has been claiming that the state governments led by them have not opened fire. Now the cat is out of the bag. Dilip Ghosh has spilled the beans. The BJP is trying to create an authoritarian state and killing protesters is a step towards it," senior CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty said.

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