West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday alleged that the Nupur Sharma controversy was a “conspiracy of the BJP to further its divisive policy” and asserted that the suspended saffron party spokesperson should be arrested as no one must be allowed to “play with fire”.
Speaking at a conclave organised by a television channel, which was broadcast live on the CM’s Facebook page, Banerjee alleged that the BJP was spreading fake news and videos through social networking sites.
“The Nupur Sharma controversy is totally a conspiracy…hatred and divisive policy of the BJP. Why was she not arrested? Arrest her because you cannot play with fire. In our country we are all together. If you don’t trust the people then how will you trust yourself? I am for all the communities — Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Christians, Sikhs and Buddhists,” she said.
She claimed India’s global image has taken a beating because of Sharma’s controversial remarks about Prophet Mohammed.
Referring to FIRs lodged earlier over circulation of fake videos of violent incidents in Bangladesh, alleging that those took place in West Bengal, Banerjee said, “BJP is misusing social media…they have given money to spread fake, communal videos and news. There are so many TV channels that get paid to do so.”
“The Nupur Sharma controversy is dividing my country and affecting our image. I cannot see my country bowing down morally to others because of a particular party. Some countries have boycotted our items. This is a matter of shame,” Banerjee said.
Kolkata Police had on Saturday issued a lookout notice for Sharma for her controversial remarks on Prophet Mohammed after she failed to appear before police officers despite being summoned four times.
FIRs have been lodged at 10 police stations in the city against Sharma, who has failed to appear before officers of Amherst Street Police Station and Narkeldanga Police Station despite being summoned by them two times each, following which the lookout notice was issued on Saturday.
Meanwhile, a group of 15 retired judges, 77 bureaucrats and 25 retired officers of the armed forces have criticised two Supreme Court judges for their comments against suspended BJP member Nupur Sharma. The group claimed that the apex court surpassed the “Laxman Rekha” and called for steps towards “urgent rectification”.
The signatories include former chief justice of the Bombay High Court Kshitij Vyas, former Gujarat High Court judge S M Soni, former Rajasthan High Court judges R S Rathore and Prashant Agarwal and former Delhi High Court judge S N Dhingra. Former IAS officers R S Gopalan and S Krishna Kumar, ambassador (retired) Niranjan Desai, former DGPs S P Vaid and B L Vohra, Lt Gen V K Chaturvedi (retired) and Air Marshall (retired) S P Singh have also signed the statement which said the SC observations are not in sync with judicial ethos.
The Supreme Court had on July 1 come down heavily on Sharma for her controversial comments against Prophet Mohammad, saying her “loose tongue” has “set the entire country on fire” and that she is “single-handedly responsible for what is happening in the country”.