The Center again convenes the top officers of Bengal, Days After State’s Snub

Mamata Banerjee’s government has again refused to send officials to Delhi. (File)

New Delhi:

In an escalation of Bengal squabbles with the center over an attack on the BJP chief’s convoy last week, two senior state officials were summoned to Delhi for a second time. Mamata Banerjee’s government again refused to send them, seeking instead a video meeting citing Covid.

The Union Interior Minister wrote to the Bengal government last night, asking the Chief Secretary of State and the Chief of Police to attend a meeting today at 5.30pm. In response, the state government suggested a video conference due to the pandemic.

The center has yet to respond.

Bengal had refused to send officials when they were summoned last week for a meeting with the Minister of the Interior on the situation of law and order in the state after the convoy of BJP President JP Nadda was attacked in a point about 60 km from Calcutta.

The next day, the Interior Ministry wrote to Bengal asking him to let go of three agents of the Indian Police Service (IPS) who were to report for the central deputation.

The three officers, Bholanath Pandey, Rajeev Mishra, and Praveen Kumar Tripathi, were allegedly in charge of security details when Nadda’s convoy was targeted by supporters of the Trinamool Congress with stones and sticks. The BJP said its leaders were injured in the attack and the cars were damaged when stones were thrown by a crowd.

The Bengal government replied that officers cannot be spared.

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Yesterday the center wrote again, requesting the transfer of the three agents.

A furious Mamata Banerjee called it a brash attempt to control her status by proxy before next year’s elections. “We would not allow this brazen attempt by the center to control the state machine by proxy! West Bengal will not rush in the face of expansionist and undemocratic forces,” he said in a tweet.

He said the central government deputation order for the three IPS officers on duty, despite the state’s objection, was “a colorable exercise of power and a blatant abuse” of the rules.

“This act is nothing more than a deliberate attempt to invade the jurisdiction of the state and demoralize the officers serving in West Bengal. This move, particularly before the elections, is contrary to the basic principles of the federal structure. It is unconstitutional and completely unacceptable. “, he wrote.

This morning, Ms. Banerjee’s Delhi counterpart, Arvind Kejriwal, came out in support of her. “I condemn the Centre’s blatant interference with the administration of Bengal. Invading the rights of states by attempting to transfer police officers to the Center shortly before the elections is an attack on federalism and an attempt to destabilize,” the Prime Minister said. Delhi.