Raiganj: Two sisters seeking “justice” for their father’s murder violated Mamata Banerjee’s security at a meeting here on Thursday, one falling at the chief minister’s feet and the other stopped near the dais after tailing the leader for weeks.
An annoyed Mamata rapped her guards to unfilled the space and intelligence officials termed the lapse “grave”, the concerns stoked by memories of the 1991 assassination of Rajiv Gandhi by a female suicide bomber who detonated while bending to touch his feet.
“If Rabia Khatun (who fell at Mamata’s feet) had wrong intentions, the consequences would have been severe,” said a senior intelligence official.
Rabia’s elder sister Amira was stopped as she tried to get onto the dais from the other end at almost the same time as her sibling, interrupting Mamata’s speech at the meeting in Hemtabad, 12km from Raiganj.
When Rabia fell at Mamata’s feet, the Trinamul chief hurriedly stepped back as her guards picked the woman up and made her sit on a chair on the dais. “If they have any problem, we are there to hear and resolve it. But this is not proper,” Mamata said.
According to the intelligence official, the chief minister has at least three layers of security at public events. “If the security personnel on one side of the stage can stop one of the sisters, how could those posted on the other side, particularly when the chief minister was standing on the podium, not notice Rabia climbing the stage,” the official wondered.
A senior official at state secretariat Nabanna in Calcutta said two inquiries would be conducted. “One will be conducted by the DGP (director-general of police). The second would be carried out by the director of (Mamata’s) security,” said the official.
Another official felt the steps leading to the stage were not “sanitised”. “The personnel had to guard the stairs to the dais only as there was no other way to reach the chief minister. But the staircase was not guarded properly. It is a clear case of breach of security of the chief minister.”
Sources in Raiganj said Rabia and Amira – both residents of North Dinajpur of which Raiganj is the district headquarters – were quizzed by officials at the venue and later taken to the district hospital as the incident involved some jostling and brush with the security personnel when the sisters were stopped in their tracks.
A police officer in Raiganj said Rabia and Amira had tried to get close to Mamata at a rally she addressed in Malda, around 70km from Raiganj, two days ago and earlier in Calcutta.
“It was learnt that the sisters had gone to Malda where the chief minister addressed a similar meeting on Tuesday and before that, they had gone to Nabanna in Calcutta. They could not make it near the stage in Malda and were stopped in Calcutta. On Thursday (in Raiganj), they made the second attempt. It was alarming as it reminded us about the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi,” said the officer.