SALBONI: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday alleged that the BJP was trying to replicate a Manipur-like situation in her state by planning to orchestrate ethnic riots.
She condemned the attack on state minister Birbaha Hansda's vehicle and claimed that BJP activists, not members of the Kurmi community, were behind the incident that took place on Friday.
The feisty TMC boss iterated there will be a change of guard at the Centre in the next six months, and "people's rights will be restored, and politics of hatred will come to an end".
"The BJP was behind the ethnic violence in Manipur. The saffron party is trying to replicate similar riots between communities in West Bengal. They want to separate the hills from Bengal."
They want to create a situation wherein Adivasis will fight Kurmis so that army can be called in and the military will have shoot-at-sight orders and we won't be able to protect if someone is shot or killed.
"The BJP is pumping in huge money in the area to foment trouble," she said at a rally in Salboni in Paschim Medinipur district.
Banerjee said those trying to fuel ethnic riots in the state will not be spared.
Earlier this month, ethnic violence between Meiteis and Kukis in Manipur claimed the lives of over 70 people, and 10,000 security forces were deployed even as curfew was imposed and internet services were suspended.
The car of minister Birbaha Hansda, who is also the MLA of Jhargram constituency, was attacked by alleged members of the Kurmi community, leaving several TMC activists injured.
The vehicle was part of TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee's convoy.
"I condemn yesterday's violence in which minister Birbaha Hansda's vehicle was attacked with lathis and stones. She is a proud Adivasi and a state minister. I believe the violence was not a handiwork of the Kurmis. BJP workers disguised as members of the Kurmi community were behind it," she said while addressing TMC's mass outreach campaign 'Trinamool e Nabojowar' (new wave in Trinamool).
She alleged that the BJP was providing money and muscle power to fuel ethnic tension in the area, which was affected by Maoist insurgency a decade back.
Listing out various developmental projects implemented by the state government for the development of tribal-inhabited areas in the state, the CM said her most significant achievement was to bring back peace in Junglemahal region in the western part of the state by putting an end to the Maoist insurgency.
Incidentally, the BJP made deep inroads in Bankura, Purulia, Paschim Medinipur and Jhargram districts collectively called 'Junglemahal' (the area is home to dense forests) in the 2019 Lok Sabha and 2021 assembly elections.
The Kurmi community, which is classified as OBC in West Bengal, staged protests in several districts, including Dakshin Dinajpur, Purulia, Jhargram and Paschim Medinipur, in April, disrupting railway and highway traffic, to press for the demand for inclusion into the Scheduled Tribe list.
"The Centre has asked me why I haven't instituted a task force for the NRC (National Register of Citizens) exercise in Bengal. I assure you that I will not let that happen," she said.
"People of the country have tolerated a lot in the last nine years of the BJP rule at the Centre. But don't worry, this pain will be over in six months' time. The Union government is bound to change, and people's rights will be restored across the country," she said.
Earlier in the day, Banerjee visited Egra area of Purba Medinipur district to meet family members of those killed and injured in a blast in an illegal fireworks factory there 11 days ago.