Mamata slams media for abetting suicides, rapes


Kolkata: Launching a scathing attack on the media, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Saturday accused it of abetting suicides and rapes and warned that police would lodge cases against those resorting to lies.

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Banerjee’s harsh comments came at a meeting of the Trinamool’s youth wing – Trinamool Yuva – at a time when the media has been regularly highlighting an alleged spurt in incidents of rape, police torture and administrative excesses in the state.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, West Bengal tops states in crimes against women.

The chief minister said business houses now controlled the media. “The employees are told to go all out in their criticism, and spread canards a dime a dozen.”

Quoting Municipal Affairs Minister Firhad Hakim, Banerjee said some media houses pay Rs.50,000-100,000 to people who utter whatever they are asked to say.

“I have been told that even people can be made to lodge police complaints, and, if necessary, withdraw them at a later stage,” she said.

Banerjee alleged that peasants’ suicides were abetted by the media, which was now carrying out a false propaganda on rapes.

“Just because you have a channel you cannot abet suicides, you cannot abet rapes, you cannot pollute people’s minds so that they resort to criminal offence,” she said.

“This is a crime. First the channels give a breaking news, then they wait for the contradiction. In the process two days are gone. In the interest of business, they make guinea pigs of the political parties, people,” Banerjee said.

The chief minister said where the allegations were genuine, the administration would take an uncompromising stand to nail the culprits. “But the police will lodge counter complaints in cases built on lies. This is the system. This is the law.”

During the recent platinum jubilee celebrations of the state assembly, Banerjee had taken on the judiciary, alleging there were was corruption in a section of judiciary.