Those purchased by Mamata Banerjee are signatories of the letter to PM: BJP leader Sayantan Basu

Controversial leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Sayantan Basu today said that most of the signatories who wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking action in lynchings and use of the slogan “Jai Shree Ram” as a “war cry”, had been purchased by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.

“I have no qualms saying that most of these intellectuals have been purchased by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. So how can they speak in any other language?” Basu asked. He said that there were only a few in the list who could be called “exceptions”.

Forty-nine eminent personalities including filmmakers Aparna Sen, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Ketan Mehta, Shyam Benegal, Anurag Kashyap, actors Soumitra Chattopadhyay, Konkona Sensharma, historian Ramchandra Guha, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the “number of tragic events” in recent times including incidents of lynching and use of the slogan “Jai Shree Ram” as a “war cry”.

BJP leader Sayantan Basu has often been in the news for making controversial statements. He had said in the run up to the Lok Sabha polls that the Central forces jawans should aim at the chest of those who came to loot votes. He has also said that the BJP will ask police to go for “encounters” in the lines of Uttar Pradesh if they were voted to power in Bengal, in order to stop some people from accepting “cut-money”.

Many other BJP leaders today reacted to the letter written by the likes of Aparna Sen, Ramchandra Guha, Soumitra Chattopadhyay, Adoor Gopalakrishnan. According to MP Locket Chatterjee, the letter was biased against the BJP. “If they have written that incidents of lynching for those refusing to chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’ should be stopped, why have they not written about those being killed and tortured for saying ‘Jai Shree Ram’?” Chatterjee said outside the Parliament today. “A group of intellectuals should not be divided along religious lines,” she added.

According to designer Agnimitra Paul who recently joined the BJP, “What about the intolerance in West Bengal? You cannot speak against the government here. Anyone saying anything against the state government is punished. In comparison, people outside Bengal are much better.”

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