Kolkata: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday condemned Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy’s comment that the ‘greatness of Bengal is lost as Bengali youths cleaning floors at homes from Haryana to Kerala and Bengali girls are working at bar dancers in Mumbai.’
Addressing the media after meeting the family members of Nirmal Kundu – who was shot dead on June 4 at North 24-Parganas’s Nimta area, Mamata said, “The Governor of Meghalaya’s comment on Bengali youth and girls are highly objectionable. He is holding a constitutional post and how can he say that Bengali girls are working at Mumbai’s dance bars. I protest this.”
She said, “This Meghalaya governor was a part of BJP. I would like to tell BJP leaders to mind their language. I am sure people of Bengal will respond to this.”
The controversy in Bengal emerged when Tathagata Roy recently Tweeted, “Assam, Maharashtra, Odisha are also non-Hindi speaking states. They are not raising their voice against Hindi. Bengal is the land of Vidyasagar, Vivekananda, Rabindranath and Netaji so why should Bengalis learn Hindi. What is the link between these great men and opposition to learning Hindi? Who will explain to them that greatness of Bengal has gone? Now from Haryana to Kerala, Bengali youths are sweeping the floors in homes and Bengali girls are bar dancers in Mumbai. This was not there before.”
While some of Roy's Twitter followers supported his views, some criticised him for making generalised statements about all Bengalis, arguing that youth from many other states also did similar jobs, not because they didn't know Hindi, but due to the lack of opportunities.
Roy later tried to defend his comments by saying that his comments were taken out of context and blamed the media for giving it a ‘bizarre turn’.
Condemning Roy’s statement, the Trinamool Congress led by MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar launched a protest against his tweets at Hazra Crossing in South Kolkata.
Before protesting, Dastidar officially launched the Banga Janani Vahini – party’s women’s force proposed by Mamata Banerjee to counter growing influence of RSS in Bengal.