A Bharatiya Janata Party leader has filed a police complaint against Mamata Banerjee on December 1, alleging that the West Bengal Chief Minister insulted the country’s national anthem by sitting at the start of it and leaving it after four or five verses. The right-wing is now demanding an FIR against Banerjee.
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader was on a visit to Mumbai in Maharashtra in order to meet the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar. The meeting was for her to pitch the idea of unifying the opposition party against BJP at the Centre. During her visit, she also took part in a press conference where this controversial incident took place.
In the video clip that is doing rounds on social media, Mamata Banerjee is seen sitting as she starts to sing the National Anthem, then she immediately stands up and so do others sitting next to her. At the end of the anthem, she can be heard saying, “Jai Maharashtra, Jai Bengal, Jai Bharat.”
The BJP leader, Vivekanand Gupta, who filed the police complaint tweeted, “My Police complaint to @CPMumbaiPolice to register FIR against #MamataBanerjee for showing utter disrespect to National Anthem. It’s an offence under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 and @HMOIndia order of 2015.”
After the controversy broke out, the BJP Bengal tweeted, “Today as a Chief Minister, she has insulted the culture of Bengal, the national anthem and the country, and Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore!”
National Convener of BJP’s IT cell, Amit Malviya joined the wagon and tweeted, “Our national anthem is one of the most powerful manifestations of our national identity. The least people holding public office can do is not demean it. Here is a mutilated version of our national anthem sung by Bengal CM. Is India’s opposition so bereft of pride and patriotism?”
No comments on the controversy have been made by the Trinamool Congress or Mamata Banerjee.
Before meeting Pawar, Banerjee also spoke on the “victimisation” of prominent Bollywood celebrities like Shah Rukh Khan during her press conference. The event was attended by lyricist Javed Akhtar, social activist Medha Patkar, actor Richa Chadha, comedian Munawar Faruqui, amongst others.