West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said that those who accuse her of appeasing Muslims are friends of neither the Hindus nor the Muslims.
“Some accuse me of (doing) Muslim appeasement. My question to them is whether loving Hindus means you have to hate Muslims. I respect and love all communities and religion. This country belongs to everybody,” Mamata said while addressing a special prayer gathering on Red Road in Kolkata to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr.
“Those who say I appease Muslims are the friends of neither the Hindus nor the Muslims,” she added.
Mamata was responding to the allegations levelled by the BJP and some other organisations that she was appeasing Muslims for political reasons.
Referring to the general election in 2019, the chief minister also called for an end to communal hatred and lynching in the country.
“We have to understand that terrorists don’t belong to any religion. We all have to fight together in the 2019 to make this country free from the reign of communal hatred and lynching. Let’s work together to build a new India,” she said. Her comments comes amid reports of lynching in various parts of the country in recent past.
The chief minister said it was due to her protest that the Niti Aayog meeting which was earlier scheduled for today was changed to tomorrow.
“My question to the Central government officials is whether they are not aware that Eid is scheduled to be celebrated on June 16. Why was the Niti Aayog meeting kept on that day? I had written to the Central government urging it to change the date so that it doesn’t clash with Eid,” she said. Banerjee had yesterday confirmed her participation in the Niti Aayog’s rescheduled governing council meeting in New Delhi on June 17.
The meeting, which will be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was earlier scheduled on June 16, the Eid-ul-Fitr day.
Banerjee and a few other chief ministers had expressed unwillingness to attend the meeting on the Eid festival day, following which it was postponed by a day to June 17.
(With PTI inputs)