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Babul Supriyo Says 'Recent Events' Call for President's Rule in Bengal, TMC Calls Union Minister a 'Novice'

File photo of Union Minister Babul Supriyo. (PTI)

File photo of Union Minister Babul Supriyo. (PTI)

Union minister Babul Supriyo on Sunday said the recent chain of events in West Bengal -- from the arrest of al-Qaeda linked men to the controversy involving a Sikh man, show that it was a "fit case" for imposition of President's Rule in the state.

Kolkata: Union minister Babul Supriyo on Sunday said the recent chain of events in West Bengal — from the arrest of al-Qaeda linked men to the controversy involving a Sikh man, show that it was a "fit case" for imposition of President's Rule in the state. The Asansol MP also said that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is "oppressing" opposition parties in Bengal, must have forgotten her struggles at the grassroots level.

Supriyo, while talking to reporters, claimed that the police had, in a "planned manner", isolated a member of the Sikh community, assaulted him and pulled his turban, during the BJP's protest rally on Thursday. "The recent chain of events — ranging from the attackon a Sikh community member, the arrest of al-Qaeda operativesto brazen murder of Manish Shukla and other politicalopponents — show that it is a fit case for imposition ofArticle 365 in West Bengal," he said.

Controversy erupted after visuals of the police beating up a Sikh man during BJP's protest on Thursday went viral on social media, with a section of netizens claiming that the police had pulled his turban during the scuffle. The police, however, said that the person was carrying a firearm and his headgear "had fallen off automatically in the scuffle". Countering the Union minister's narrative, veteran TMC MP Sougata Roy said Supriyo was a "novice" and had no idea of the circumstances under which the President's Rule is imposed. "Babul is a newcomer in politics, having joined BJP only a few years back. He has no idea about what he says. He doesn't know that before imposing Article 365, an advisory under Article 355 has to be issued by the Centre," Roy said.

Asserting the situation in West Bengal doesn't warrant any such step, he said Shukla's murder was a fallout of the saffron camp's internal feud. Roy further said that the minister of state for environment, forest and climate change was making "absurd claims to hog attention", as he was not getting any prominence in his party.

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"Supriyo is referring to some stray incidents, such as the murder of a muscle man like Shukla due to BJP's internal feud and police action to quell violent protest by the party. "As far as arrests of al-Qaeda linked men were concerned,such things can happen anywhere. In that case, what does hehave to say about the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh?" he added.

BJP leader Manish Shukla was shot dead by gun-toting assailants in Titagarh earlier this month, with the saffron party accusing the ruling TMC of orchestrating the murder. In September, six al-Qaeda linkled men were arrested by the NIA in Murshidabad district.

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first published:October 11, 2020, 19:21 IST