Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has claimed that the people who died in Cooch Behar on Saturday morning during firing by the Central Industrial Security Forces, were “shot in the chest”. Calling it “genocide”, she said the CISF was only qualified to deal with industrial matters and is not experienced in crowd control.
“This is genocide. They sprayed bullets to kill. They could have fired below the knee. The CISF has no idea about controlling mobs. They are trained for industrial areas,” she said.
On Saturday, around 10.30 am, the CISF on duty at booth number 126 at Jor Paath Ki in Sitalkuchi constituency had opened fire in which four people died and at least one person is believed to be injured.
The Special Police Observer appointed by the Election Commission, Vivek Dubey, sent a report saying the CISF had to fire in self-defence when villagers tried to snatch their weapons. There was a misunderstanding between villages and the CISF, he had said.
Ms Banerjee today said “outsiders” had opened fire in violation of rules.
“There are rules — first lathi (batons), then tear gas, water cannon… There are rules. I don’t want to do politics with this. I have been saying from the start. They are gheraoing men and not allowing them to vote. People must be allowed to vote. The vote is befitting reply,” the Chief Minister said today at a press conference at north Bengal’s Siliguri.
The Centre, she said, is “trying to suppress the fact”. “They are giving clean chit. I’m coming to you to complain,” she added.
The Chief Minister — who could not visit the spot by the Election Commission order barring political leaders from the area — also did a video call with some of the bereaved families.
“The Election Commission has not allowed me to go to Sitalkuchi. The MCC (Model Code of Conduct) has become the Modi Code of Conduct… Just to satisfy the BJP, I have been stopped from meeting the families,” she said. The Election Commission’s three-day ban will end on Tuesday.
Manjur Mian, a relative of Hamidul Mian who died, said his brother, a mason, was shot while he was “standing in queue to vote”. “He has a three-year-old daughter. His wife is expecting another baby,” he added.