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As BJP-TMC Fight Over 'Jai Shri Ram' Continues, Party Workers Live in Fear of Reprisal

Stating that she believed in Bible and Quran, TMC supremo and Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said the BJP had taken the Sita out of its 'Jai Shri Ram' chants and she would not accept it.

Prema Rajaram | CNN-News18

Updated:June 3, 2019, 7:04 PM IST
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As BJP-TMC Fight Over 'Jai Shri Ram' Continues, Party Workers Live in Fear of Reprisal
BJP MP Arjun Singh shows a postcard with 'Jai Shri Ram' written on it. (News18)
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Kolkata: The chanting of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans has given the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ammunition against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the Trinamool Congress.

BJP MP Arjun Singh has asked his supporters to send 10 lakh postcards with ‘Jai Shri Ram’ written on it to the Trinamool Congress supremo.

Sitting at his office in Barrackpore from where he won the Lok Sabha election by defeating TMC sitting MP Dinesh Trivedi, Singh signed a postcard saying ‘Didi, Jai Shri Ram, Arjun Singh’.

The postcard was addressed to Banerjee's residence in 30,B Harish Chatterjee Street.

“We have started sending such postcards since Saturday. Banerjee has problems with ‘Jai Shri Ram’, so we will send her postcards. We are unable to understand how she can consider this as an abuse. It is clear she is feeling threatened as she got off her car and lost her temper,” Singh, who left the Trinamool Congress ahead of the parliamentary election, told News18.

With reports of police launching a probe into the incident when similar slogans were chanted while the chief minister’s car was passing by a jute mill in the Kakinara area on Thursday, Singh added, “We want them to arrest those who chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’. It is not written anywhere that one can be arrested for chanting slogans.”

Meanwhile, the ruling party is circulating a message with Singh’s number, asking them to write ‘Jai Hind, Jai Bangla, Mamata Banerjee zindabad.’ Singh, however, denied having received any such message.

At Jagaddal in Barrackpore, BJP supporters said they were living in fear since Thursday.

Soni Begum, who bought new items ahead of Eid, was distraught as she described to News 18 how police personnel and TMC supporters allegedly barged into her house early on Friday night when she was sleeping with her five-year-old daughter.

She showed us around her house which was in a shambles since their visit.

“They barged into my house, demanded to know where my elder son was who has been away from the house for many days now. I was afraid to file a police complaint and now live in fear as I am unable to step outside my house,” says Begum, teary-eyed.

In the neighbouring locality, people have similar stories of being threatened by the police officers and TMC workers.

Lakhi Chowdhury, a local, said she too was threatened in the middle of the night two days ago when she and her three children were asleep.

“They barged into my house and demanded to know where’s my husband. My husband has been working outside Kolkata for a long time now. My child was unwell and they forcibly picked up my child and asked him where his father was,” Chowdhury told News18.

Many of her neighbours have had a similar encounter that night. One of them said police were targeting them as there were BJP flags hoisted on their rooftops.

While some were living in fear, other said they were, by now, used to these atrocities.

Others, like Soni Begum, chose to meet the BJP MP for help as they were afraid to meet the police.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Banerjee met her party MPs, MLAs and ministers to chalk out a strategy to strengthen the TMC and combat the BJP’s bid to capture her turf.

She spoke to reporters after the meeting and blamed a section of the media for misreporting facts.

She said the Trinamool Congress was still in a majority in the Assembly constituencies and its vote-share had increased by 4% after the recently concluded parliamentary election.

While speaking on the ‘Jai Shri Ram’ issue, the chief minister said the BJP had taken Sita out of the slogan.

“People in Uttar Pradesh say ‘Jai Siya Ram’. Mahatama Gandhi used to sing ‘Raghupati Raghav Rajaram, patit pavan Sita Ram’. The BJP has taken the Sita out of it and distorted the slogan which people are dancing to. I will not accept it. I believe in the Bible and Quran,” Banerjee said.

With a focus on sending out a strong message on July 21 when the Trinamool Congress holds a mega rally every year on the occasion to mark ‘Shahid Diwas’ or Martyrs’ Day, Banerjee said her MLAs, the recently formed Banga Jnanani Committee and Jai Hindi Vahini to counter the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh will hold a yatra in certain parts of Bengal to garner support for Shahid Diwas.

| Edited by: Sohini Goswami
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