Bounty offer on Mamata's head by BJYM leader draws criticism from all parties

Bengal govt free to take legal action: Centre, BJP youth wing disowns leader
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Agencies
NEW DELHI
12 Apr 2017

Major political parties including BJP today condemned as "barbaric" a saffron youth wing leader's offer of a Rs 11 lakh bounty on the head of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee with his remark setting off an uproar in Parliament.

The TMC, which is led by Mamata, demanded the immediate arrest of Yogesh Varshney, a leader of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), while the BJP distanced itself from the controversial remark. The Centre also roundly condemned the statement and said the West Bengal government was free to take legal action against Varshney. "Mamata government beat up people. If someone was wearing a red shirt or a red pant, they were beaten up brutally by the police. I don't understand...Mamata Banerjee organises Iftar party, she argues for the Muslims. I want to ask her are Hindus not human? If they had any humanity, they wouldn't have beaten up like this. If anyone brings me her severed head, I will give that person Rs 11 lakh," Varshney said in Aligarh while criticising the police action on a rally in Suri in Birbhum district in West Bengal on Tuesday where slogans in praise of Lord Rama on Hanuman Jayanti were raised.

The BJYM on its part disowned Varshney and demanded legal action against him. "BJYM stands against the statements made by Yogesh Varshney, and also urges the local administration to take all the necessary legal actions against him as per law," it said in a statement, adding Varshney was expelled two years ago from the party. As the Parliament roundly condemned the statement, the Centre said the West Bengal government was "free to take legal action" against him. The issue was raised in both the Houses by Trinamool Congress (TMC) members, with all major political parties and the government condemning the statement. In the Rajya Sabha, deputy chairman P J Kurien said the state government can register an FIR and take action. Raising this issue during Zero Hour in the Upper House, TMC member Sukhendu Sekhar Roy asked the House and the government to condemn the statement, saying "a constitutionally elected CM has been described as a demon."

Minister of state for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said: "I strongly condemn such type of statements. The state government is free to take appropriate legal action on this issue". "On such people action can be taken under the the law. An FIR should be registered. Law should take its own course," Kurian said, adding that "you raised this issue. Minister has condemned it...No need of discussion on that". BSP chief Mayawati termed it as a "serious matter" and said "BJP should not just condemn the statement, but should also take action." Other opposition parties including Congress, Left and SP, also supported TMC on this issue and condemned the incident. Jaya Bachchan (SP) said there was a need to take "aggressive" steps for protection of women. "You can protect cows and women are facing atrocities," she added. "How dare somebody talk like this", especially against women chief minister particularly when women are feeling insecure. "Is this the way you are going to protect women," Bachchan asked.

In Lok Sabha, parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar said such a statement by anyone was completely wrong and the government strongly condemns it. "She is an elected chief minister and due respect must be given to her. We strongly condemn it," Kumar said. TMC member Saugata Roy said "Mamata Banerjee is not only an elected chief minister but a former member of this House too. It is a serious and alarming behaviour and the House must condemn it. She is a grassroot leader and government must take action on it."