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5 Jul 2017

What Mamata said in response to questions at Nabanna on Tuesday

TT: The following are excerpts from a statement issued by the Trinamul Congress, which recounted what chief minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters in response to questions at Nabanna on Tuesday:
• We support and respect social networks. They help to educate people on many things.
• However, the ruling party at the Centre has an agenda — sometimes it is beating people in the name of ‘gau raksha’, sometimes it is about creating hate groups on Facebook by spreading rumours and creating trouble. An example is the incident which took place yesterday (in Baduria, North 24-Parganas).
• Some fake pictures are being put up, which have no relation with what has actually happened.
• I would like to tell the people who are indulging in these that they are not doing the right thing.
• The man who did this was arrested by the police. Logically, the situation should have been under control. But what we saw was that another group did something to flare up the situation into a communal issue.
• We couldn’t sleep the whole night. I regret to say that this trouble... resulting from a Facebook post... is very regretful.
• How many Facebook and Twitter posts can you stop? Lakhs and lakhs of people post on Facebook.
• I totally condemn the incident. Even after arresting the man, the way a group of people set up a blockade and created chaos, I am sure that they are not really acting in favour of the state.
• I do not want to create any communal tension. I would appeal to both the groups to not to create communal tension. If the BJP is instigating you, why should you fall into the trap?
• BJP is intent on instigation. But if this can lead to tension anywhere, I would not hold back in taking action.
• As long as I am in this chair, all are equal. I respect all communities. Like the BJP, I do not set one community against the other.... If anything happens to any community, it would affect me.
• Some religious leaders are igniting situations and burning property in exchange for money. Do not play with fire. Those destroying property will have to pay for it. Those fomenting trouble will not be pardoned. We have a list of all such people.
• Today, the Governor has said a lot of things. I have been highly insulted.
• I have a lot of respect for the Governor, which is a constitutional post. He has to work as per the Constitution, just as I have to.
• I have not come to power because of the kindness of the Governor. I have been elected by the people. The Governor is nominated by the Central Government. The way he spoke today, favouring the BJP while humiliating me is very bad.
• The community that has started all this trouble yesterday, I must tell them that we have had to hear a lot of things today. A person was arrested by the police after what he posted on Facebook. So where is my fault in this? Where is my government’s fault?
• The Maa-Mati-Manush Government has given a lot of protection to you. But if you think that you can target me on the basis of partiality, then remember, Mamata Banerjee is not in favour of any one person or community — she is in favour of the people.
• I have told the Honourable Governor that you cannot talk to me like this. The way the Governor is speaking, it seems that the BJP block president is speaking.
• Why should such a thing happen? We are not his servants. I am occupying this post because the people have voted me to run this government, I am not here because of any particular group — neither the BJP, nor the CPI(M), nor the Congress. If the people don’t want me, I will leave this post.
• After this insult, I had myself thought that I would resign. I have never been insulted in this way in my whole life.
• The Governor cannot threaten me. He has threatened me today after calling me on my phone.
• He is trying to teach me law and order. Why should he take only one side? Why can’t he be impartial?
• These days, whenever something happens, the BJP goes and meets the Governor and hands him a paper, and then he starts saying whatever comes to his mind.
• He should understand the fact that he is a nominated person. His is a constitutional position, and so I respect him. But at the same time, he should maintain his self-respect too.
• The police are also to blame in some cases. Whatever I do, I do impartially. I have been telling the police from yesterday to control this. They should have immediately blocked the Facebook account.
• But how many accounts can you block? This is being done by design, these posts have become a phenomenon. First they are putting up a story on Facebook, then fomenting trouble based on that.
• I would say, why don’t the others counter the posts rather than becoming embroiled in the riots?
• If the police had opened fire, many would have been killed. So they cannot do that. My aim is to make the communities understand rather than to open fire and harm people. That is why I am being patient. But let no one take my patience to be my weakness.
• I am sternly telling the leaders of both the communities — we have had to hear a lot of things because of you. Do not indulge in such things.
• I am not here just to be a chief minister. This is a chair of the people. I will not tolerate such goondaism. And I would appeal to the Governor not to behave like this.
• I am in politics right from my younger days. I cannot tolerate the fact that now I have to hear such insults.
• I’m really sorry if I have hurt anybody because of what I said. I apologise for that. But my conscience was extremely hurt today. I have not sat on this chair just for the sake of it. I work hard to accomplish whatever I can.
• I do not respect religious leaders who can be swayed by such Facebook posts. I respect institutions like the Ramakrishna Mission and the Bharat Sevashram Sangha who work with responsibility. I do not respect the small fry who create such chaos in lieu of money. I condemn such people, like the person who posted on Facebook.... The BJP has such people in their ranks. Their leaders are indulging in this — it would be very evident if one checks their Facebook posts.
• Some leaders are destroying the country and then going abroad to talk of unity. They are setting fire to the amity between communities and religions, and then indulging in sweet talk on religious unity in foreign lands.    
• Such things must be stopped; we will not tolerate such things. We do politics with dedication. We don’t indulge in dirty politics, our politics is for the good of the people.
• Whatever decision I take next would depend on the situation. This is a very serious issue and I will handle it will utmost seriousness.

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