The West Bengal Assembly on Monday passed a resolution against the disparaging comments by suspended Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Nupur Sharma about Prophet Muhammad, PTI reported.

Sharma’s remarks against the Prophet, made during a debate on the Times Now television channel on May 26, had sparked violent protests in several parts of India, including West Bengal. India also received diplomatic backlash from several Muslim-dominated countries.

Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleged that Sharma’s comments were a part of a greater design to spread hatred among communities before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. “I will appeal to people not to fall into BJP’s trap,” she said. “We have taken stern action against those who tried to create a ruckus.”

West Bengal’s Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee tabled the motion condemning Sharma’s comments. The motion did not name anyone as cases in connection with the remarks are sub-judice.

The resolution stated that the country’s communal harmony was being ruined due to the remarks of a BJP leader. It also claimed that due to Banerjee’s intervention, communal harmony was maintained in West Bengal.

Several incidents of violence were reported during the protests in West Bengal earlier this month. Agitators had vandalised a local train in Bethuadahari town of Nadia district on June 12 and had set several kiosks and vehicles, including those of police, on fire in Howrah on June 10.

Banerjee on Monday said that the state police acted against the violence, and asked why Sharma has still not been arrested, India Today reported. “I know she will not be arrested,” the chief minister said. “She has sought time from Kolkata Police for four weeks. She was to appear before the police today.”

The Kolkata Police have registered a case against Sharma under Indian Penal Code Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings), 298 (deliberate intent to wound religious feelings), and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).

Banerjee criticises Agnipath scheme

The Trinamool Congress chief criticised the BJP for the Agnipath scheme, alleging that the saffron party was trying to create its cadre through the initiative.

“BJP is not addressing the main issue of unemployment,” she said.

Under the Agnipath scheme, citizens aged between 17-and-a-half and 21 will be eligible to apply for four-year recruitment into the armed forces. Of these recruits, 25% will be eligible to apply as regular personnel after they complete their service.

Since June 15, widespread protests have erupted against the Agnipath scheme in various parts of the country, including in West Bengal. The protestors are demanding permanent recruitment under the regular process as well as pension and other retirement benefits that are not a part of the Agnipath scheme.