Don’t defame the army, says Bengal Governor; Mamata hits back

Kolkata, Dec 3 (IANS) West Bengal Governor K.N. Tripathi on Saturday sternly cautioned against “defaming” and “letting down” the Indian Army in the wake of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleging that soldiers extorted money from truck drivers during their deployment at toll plazas.

Asked about Banerjee’s accusation that the soldiers extorted money from truck drivers, Tripathi said: “Every person should take care in making allegation against a responsible organisation like the Indian Army. Don’t let down the army. Don’t defame the army.”

Responding to Tripathi’s caution, Banerjee accused him of speaking in the “tone of central government” on the issue of army deployment at toll plazas in the state.

“The Governor is speaking in the voice of Central Government!! He was not in the city for about 8 days,” she tweeted.

Terming the Governor’s comments as “unfortunate”, Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress supremo said Tripathi should have checked the details of recent developments in the state before commenting.

“Before making statements, all details should have been checked. It is very unfortunate,” said Banerjee, who spent Thursday night at the state secretariat and stayed put for 36 hours protesting deployment of the army at toll plazas in the state allegedly without informing her government — an issue that snowballed into a major row causing disruptions in Parliament.

The central government and the army rubbished the allegations, saying too much was being read into a routine exercise.

In the Lok Sabha, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said the army was conducting a routine exercise in Kolkata. The Eastern Command showed papers detailing the correspondence between the army and the local police on the issue and said the state government and the police knew about it in advance.

–IANS

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