'Shanti Vahini' to maintain peace in Bengal, police chief urges people not to share communal posts on social media

CM Mamata Banerjee has accused the BJP of conspiring to instigate unrest in the state.
'Shanti Vahini' to maintain peace in Bengal, police chief urges people not to share communal posts on social media
'Shanti Vahini' to maintain peace in Bengal, police chief urges people not to share communal posts on social media
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Alleging that a conspiracy has being hatched against her government, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday announced the formation of 'Shanti Vahini' (peace army) at every booth in the state to maintain peace and communal harmony.

Banerjee also claimed that the situation was now "normal" in North 24 Parganas district's Basirhat sub-division, where communal tension had erupted.

"We have taken an administrative decision to create 'Shanti Vahini' at all the booths in the state by including the local police stations and the students and youths of the locality.

"They would monitor if anyone is conspiring to spread tension or start a riot in the area. The teams would also check if these people are misleading the locals by spreading rumours about robbery, riot in order to polarise them for their own benefit," she said.

Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress supremo, said the Shanti Vahini would get administrative backing and work together with police to maintain peace in their area.

Accusing the BJP of conspiring to instigate unrest in the state, she said a political party should not use its power and machinery to spread rumours and start a riot.

"A political party can be in power at the Centre or the state but they have no right to start a riot or spread rumours by misusing their power and the government machinery," said Banerjee.

"I have heard that provocative things were said at a meeting near south Kolkata's Hazra. If it was a mixed area inhabited by different communities. There could have been a riot due to this. BJP is holding such provocative meetings directly under their party's banner," she alleged.

Taking a swipe at BJP for the volatile situation in states like Uttar Pradesh where they are at the helm, Banerjee said she would call an all party meeting only if it was necessary.

However, she refused to pass any more comments about the statement issued by Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi saying she has already articulated her stand on Tuesday.

Stating that the communal tension took place at a very small pocket in the North 24 Parganas district, Banerjee claimed that the state government has brought the situation under control in spite of "a political party's attempt" to incite people.

"This issue has happened in a small area. There is no reason to fret over it so much. This was engineered on social media by a particular political party. Both groups were instigated. To us, all are same. The situation is under control now. Some wanted to stoke fire, but I have not let that happen," she added.

State police chief Surajit Kar Purakayastha on Wednesday appealed to the people to refrain from liking or sharing communally provocative posts on social media.

"We would appeal to everyone not to share or like any provocative posts in the social media that might disrupt the communal harmony and create a divide among people," said Director General of Police Purakayastha.

"If anyone shares any such provocative posts the onus would be on them," he warned.

Stating that the situation in the violence-hit areas was largely under control, Purakayastha requested the people to help the administration in reinstating peace and harmony.

"At some places, an amount of tension and confusion were created due to these posts. The state administration is taking necessary actions in all these volatile areas. On behalf of the administration, I would request all of you to help us in reinstating the environment of peace and prosperity," he said.

He said adequate police has been deployed in the violence stricken areas to keep the tension in check and said the administration would do their part to provide security to the common people.

"Adequate police personnel have been deployed in all the sensitive areas. The administration is with you. We are obligated to keep you secured," he added.

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