West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said that those living in the state will have to learn to speak Bengali. Banerjee made the comments at a rally in Kanchrapara in the North 24 Parganas district.
“We would like all states to maintain bonhomie, but remember that when I am in Bihar, I speak in Hindi because the state’s language is Hindi,” she said. “Only in Tamil Nadu, I speak a few words in Tamil because I don’t know the language. If you live in Bengal, you have to speak Bengali. We have no problem if you speak other languages, but you’ll have to learn Bengali too.”
Banerjee claimed that certain people threaten Bengalis which she will no longer tolerate. “We will not let Bengal be Gujarat,” she said. “There was a riot in Gujarat where a lot of people were killed. That’s why I’m saying that I will not let Bengal be Gujarat.”
The Trinamool Congress chief reiterated her claim that outsiders had instigated the ongoing protests by junior doctors in Kolkata. “I had rightly said that they were involved in Thursday’s protest,” she said. “I had seen some outsiders raising slogans [at the state-run SSKM hospital].”
Junior doctors at the hospital went on a strike on Tuesday, a day after the family of a patient allegedly attacked two interns. Soon, the protests spread to state-run medical facilities across the state. On Thursday, the agitating doctors defied Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s ultimatum to return to work by 2 pm. Banerjee alleged that the protestors were outsiders and a conspiracy hatched by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Communist Party of India (Marxist). On Friday, several other parts of the country also witnessed protests.
Banerjee also brought up the alleged tampering of electronic voting machines, saying that ballot papers should be brought back. “Just because they [Bharatiya Janata Party] won a few seats by programming the EVMs, it doesn’t mean that they can beat up Bengalis and minorities. We will not tolerate this,” she added.
West Bengal has witnessed a spate of violence after the Lok Sabha election results were declared on May 23. The killings of BJP and Trinamool Congress workers has also triggered a blame game between the two parties.