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Mamata Banerjee Hits Back At BJP’s “Safe Haven For Terrorists” Barb

In anticipation of the election, the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party have engaged in a traditional political slugfest following the arrest of two major suspects in the Rameshwaram Cafe blast case, which was traced from Bengaluru to Bengal’s East Midnapore district.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, at an election rally in Dinhata in Bengal’s Cooch Behar, hit back at barbs the state had become a “safe haven for terrorists” under her rule. Ms Banerjee, a fierce and vocal critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP, pointed out, “The men (who were arrested) are not residents of Bengal… they were hiding out here. They were arrested in two hours.”

“The BJP cannot stand it if there is peace in Bengal,” the Trinamool boss raged.

“Is Uttar Pradesh safe? Is Rajasthan safe? Is Bihar safe?” she asked of the crowd.

Senior Trinamool leader Kunal Ghosh also shot back at the BJP’s attacks, pointing out the arresting agency, the National Investigation Agency or NIA, “had to accept active cooperation of state police”.

“Their press release mentions cooperation of state police in arrests they made,” he asserted.

The men arrested this morning – Mussavir Hussain Shazeb and Abdul Matheen Taha – are believed to be key conspirators; Taha allegedly handled the logistics while Shazeb planted the bomb. They were traced to Kanthi, or Contai, a small city 180 km from Kolkata in the Purba Medinipur district.

Significantly, Kanthi is the stronghold of the BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari, who was once a close aide of Ms Banerjee before he crossed over, just weeks before the 2021 Bengal Assembly election. Mr Adhikari went on to defeat Ms Banerjee in a high-profile clash from the prestigious Nandigram seat.

In his fierce response, Mr Ghosh also called on state authorities to investigate links between Mr Adhikari’s family and the Rameshwaram Cafe bombers. He also said Bengal Police remain “steadfast in suppressing anti-national forces” and are always ready to cooperate with other agencies.

He then launched a jab at the BJP, whom the Trinamool has frequently accused of orchestrating incidents of unrest and violence, particularly during elections, to destabilise the state machinery.

Mr Ghosh also referred to reports the NIA had detained and questioned a BJP worker in connection with the March 1 blast at Bengaluru’s popular Rameshwaram Cafe, in which 10 people were injured.

Ms Banerjee and Mr Ghosh’s angry retorts came after the BJP’s Amit Malviya posted on X (formerly Twitter) about Shazeb and Taha’s arrests, and said “both likely belong to ISIS cell in Karnataka”.

Mr Malviya’s post was swiftly fact-checked by Bengal Police.

The police said “contrary to Amit Malviya’s claims” the two accused had been arrested after a joint operation involving themselves and central intelligence agencies. “The proactive role of West Bengal Police… has been officially acknowledged by the central agencies. West Bengal has NEVER been a safe haven for terrorists and the state police will continue to remain ever-vigilant…” the cops said.

The Rameshwaram Cafe, which suffered extensive damage after the blast, reopened eight days later, with enhanced security measures including metal detectors.

“We have strengthened our security team and are also trying to set up a separate panel of ex-servicemen who will train security guards at all our branches,” co-founder Raghavendra Rao said.

Get the latest news updates and stay informed with FELA NEWS!

(Source: NDTV)

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