12 BJP MLAs Booked For ‘Insulting’ National Anthem, Party Cites 2021 FIR Against CM Mamata

Kolkata Police has filed an FIR against 12 BJP legislators, including the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the West Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari, and party chief whip Manoj Tigga, for allegedly “insulting” the national anthem on the state Assembly premises, as reported by news agency IANS on Thursday.

In response to the FIR, BJP MLA Agnimitra Paul stated, “It is very strange that an FIR is being lodged against our 12 MLAs because we were protesting on behalf of the people of Bengal who are suffering due to Mamata government’s alleged malpractices”.

Paul accused the Trinamool Congress of corruption and claimed they “were not allowed to speak on crucial issues inside the Assembly”. She highlighted instances where the party’s attempts to address matters like corruption, violence, and rapes were allegedly hindered.

“Do we need to take their permission? We were not allowed to speak inside, when we wanted to talk and bring an adjournment motion on corruption, you (TMC) wouldn’t let us speak. You won’t let us speak on incidents of violence, corruption, rapes… you switch our mic off, and when we raise our voices, slogan against this, you call the police, give us FIRs,” Agnimitra was heard saying in a video posted by news agency ANI on X (formerly Twitter). 

Addressing Mamata Banerjee, Paul questioned her commitment to nationalism, referencing a previous case where the Chief Minister faced charges related to the National Anthem in 2021. “CM Mamata Banerjee, a lady who questions our army, navy, and airforce, do we need to learn nationalism from her?” 

“She, who was sitting on the chair when the National Anthem was being played in 2021, and a case had been lodged against her?” she added further. 

It is to be noted that in October of this year, a Mumbai metropolitan court dismissed a complaint against Banerjee alleging disrespect for the national anthem. The complaint was filed by BJP functionary Vivekanand Gupta, but the court dismissed his plea, stating that no offence against the Trinamul Congress leader was established.

FIR Against 12 BJP MLAs For ‘Insulting’ National Anthem: 

The Kolkata Police filed an FIR against 12 BJP MLAs, including the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in West Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari and party chief whip Manoj Tigga, for allegedly “insulting” the national anthem on the state Assembly premises. 

During a protest session, a group of BJP legislators, led by the LoP, gathered at the Assembly premises for a party mega rally attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah. The legislators were seen shouting “thieves, thieves” slogans, directed at the ongoing demonstrations.

Subsequently, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee complained to Speaker Biman Bandopadhyay, asserting that the BJP legislators were raising slogans while the ruling party MLAs were singing the national anthem, deeming it an insult.

She requested the Speaker to take necessary legal steps in response to the alleged offence. The Speaker promptly summoned the deputy commissioner (central division) of Kolkata Police, under whose jurisdiction the state Assembly falls, and three Trinamool Congress legislators handed over a complaint letter regarding the incident.

An FIR against the 12 BJP MLAs was registered based on this complaint.

The controversy unfolded on Wednesday afternoon when Trinamool Congress legislators, led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, protested near B.R. Ambedkar’s statue within the Assembly premises, donning black attire. Their protest focused on the non-payment of central dues to the state government under various centrally-sponsored schemes.