Lockdown sloppy, says Bengal Guv; Mamata asks him to shun politics

Kolkata, Apr 15 (PTI) Unhappy over the way the lockdown is being enforced in West Bengal, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar Wednesday said police and civil officials not following protocol be shown the door and deployment of central paramilitary forces be considered, drawing a sharp reaction from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who advised Raj Bhavan to eschew politics in times of crisis.

“Lockdown protocol has to be thoroughly implemented to ward off #coronavirus. Police and administration @MamataOfficial failing to effect 100% #SocialDistancing or curbing religious congregations be shown door,” Dhankhar tweeted.

“Lockdown must succeed-examine central para forces requisitioning!” the governor added.

The governor’s remarks did not go down well with the chief minister, who smelt politics in them.

Why do we need paramilitary forces? There have been instances where military personnel themselves have been infected with the virus. Some people are trying to fish in troubled waters. I would urge everybody this is not the time for politics. This is a crisis situation, Banerjee said, but did not name the governor.

The Union Home Ministry had also recently flagged “gradual dilution” of the lockdown in some parts of the state.

Most of these localities are minority-dominated, and the state BJP unit has repeatedly alleged that lockdown was not being properly enforced in these areas.

The home ministry also said despite the Centre issuing orders from time to time under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, these were not being followed.

Reacting to the Centre’s letter, Banerjee had said the Union government was only interested in “extra vigilance in some specific areas”.

“We are not fighting any communal virus, we are fighting a disease spreading through human contact. Wherever we find any problem, steps will be taken to ensure that the lockdown is imposed there, but that doesn’t mean shops would remain closed… We are keeping a close watch,” she had said.

Dhankhar has been at loggerheads with the state government over a host of issues ever since taking office in July last year.

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