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'I Have Been Saying It for Long Time': Mamata Banerjee on Eminent Citizens' Letter to PM Modi

File photo of West Bengal CM and Trinamool Congress Supremo Mamata Banerjee. (PTI)

File photo of West Bengal CM and Trinamool Congress Supremo Mamata Banerjee. (PTI)

Whenever the country is in a problem, whenever there is a need for social enlightenment, these prominent personalities come to the fore and inspire people, Banerjee said.

Kolkata: After a group of eminent citizens expressed concern at the number of "religious identity-based hate crimes" in a letter to the prime minister, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Wednesday that whatever they stated was "quite right" and that she had been "saying it for a long."

Whenever the country is in a problem, whenever there is a need for social enlightenment, these prominent personalities come to the fore and inspire people, Banerjee said.

"I have seen many a time what several speeches could not do, one song did more than that," the Trinamool Congress leader said.

"I respect them. I think whatever they have said is quite right. Whatever they have said today, I have been saying it for a long time," Banerjee told reporters here.

The chief minister said she is a Hindu but that does not mean that she would hate a Christian.

"I love all the religions," she said.

The chief minister said she has respect for every slogan, whether it is a religious one or not.

"But at the same time, I believe that religion belongs to an individual while a festival is for everybody," she said.

Stressing that everyone should show respect to each other irrespective of their religious identity, Banerjee said, "We must respect everybody irrespective of their religion. Everyone should respect another person's religion."

The eminent persons from various fields on Tuesday wrote an open letter to the prime minister saying, "The lynching of Muslims, Dalits and other minorities must be stopped immediately."

The letter, written by 49 eminent personalities, including filmmakers Shyam Benegal and Aparna Sen as well as vocalist Shubha Mudgal and historian Ramchandra Guha, also noted that Jai Shri Ram has been reduced to "provocative war cry".