Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh’s ‘dog’ remark stirs row

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker Dilip Ghosh on Monday refused to back down even as his statement calling for shooting of demonstrators in their heads and praise for his party’s governments in Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka for killing the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA protesters “like dogs” provoked outrage.

“People speak according to their own understanding. I have spoken as per my understanding. My opinion is that our governments have done this. And if we get a chance [in Bengal], we too will do it,” Ghosh said.

Ghosh, who heads the BJP’s West Bengal unit, remained defiant even as Union minister Babul Supriyo said their party has nothing to do with the former’s comments. “BJP, as a party has nothing to do with what a DIlip Ghosh may hv said. It is a figment of his imagination & BJP Govts in UP [Uttar Pradesh], Assam hv NEVER EVER resorted to shooting people for whatever reason whatsoever. Very irresponsible of Dilip Da to hv said what he said,” Supriyo tweeted.

Earlier on Sunday, Ghosh accused Mamata Benerjee-led state government of inaction during protests against the CAA last month. “They [protester] burnt down trains and buses. Government properties worth Rs 500 to Rs 600 crore have been damaged in West Bengal. But the police neither opened fire nor baton-charged the protesters… police did not arrest anyone,’’ he said in his address to a pro-CAA rally.

He referred to Assam, Uttar Pradesh, and Karnataka and said their governments in these states killed “these devils” with bullets. “They were killed like dogs. You will come here, take a share of our food and damage properties here. We will baton-charge, open fire and smash your skulls. Mamata Banerjee has no guts.”

The passage of the CAA last month to fast-track the citizenship process for non-Muslims, who have entered India from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh before 2015, have triggered protests across the country. Opponents of the law insist it is discriminatory and unconstitutional as it leaves out the Muslims and links faith to citizenship. They say it could result in the expulsion or detentions of the Muslims unable to provide the documentation if the law is seen in the context of a proposed pan-India National Register of Citizens even as the government has said there are no plans of rolling it out yet.

Ruling Trinamool Congress leader and minister Partha Chatterjee reacted sharply to Ghosh’s comments and said the BJP lawmaker has “gone insane and needs medical attention”.

State Congress president Somen Mitra said it seems “Dilip Ghosh is the devil we need to talk about. It is beneath one’s dignity to even respond to his remarks.”

CPI (M) leader Md Salim wondered if Ghosh is a human being at all. “In any case, if Mamata Banerjee has any sincerity in maintaining law and order, the first thing she needs to do is to ask the police to file an FIR against Ghosh for criminal intimidation.”

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