Bengal BJP MP booked under Disaster Management Act, another alleges ‘house arrest’

Another MP, Alipurduars’ John Barla, has written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah alleging that he has been put under ‘house arrest’ by the district administration.

The police in Bankura district of West Bengal has booked Bankura’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Subhas Sarkar under different sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Disaster Management Act (DMA), 2005, for allegedly spreading false alarms.

Another MP, Alipurduars’ John Barla, has written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah alleging that he has been put under ‘house arrest’ by the district administration.

While the administration remained tightlipped over the issue, police’s action against Sarkar comes after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s warning on April 15 that people spreading misinformation around Covid-19 would have to face legal action.

Sarkar, who is a doctor, has been booked under section 54 of DMA that deals with punishment for whoever ‘makes or circulates a false alarm or warning as to disaster or its severity or magnitude, leading to panic’. He has also been booked under section 505 (1) (b) of and 188 of the IPC. The case was registered at Bankura police station on April 14.

Section 505 (1)(b) pertains to “Whoever makes, publishes or circulates any statement, rumour or report with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public.” Section 188 deals with the ‘disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant’.

Criticising the role of the administration, Sarkar said, “I raised the issue of two bodies being secretly buried. Fortunately, none of them tested positive. But the secrecy and the manner in which the burial took place itself caused panic among the people of the district.”

Sarkar wrote these things on social media on April 13 and the issue was later raised by other BJP leaders, including the party’s IT cell’s national head, Amit Malviya.

Meanwhile, John Barla, who wrote to Amit Shah on April 15, alleged on Thursday that a team of 40 policemen were guarding his residence to ensure he could not move out.

“The administration is facilitating Trinamool Congress workers and leaders in distributing relief material but when I went out to offer relief to those in need they seized all the materials and brought me back home. This is a gross injustice,” Barla said.

BJP’s Darjeeling MP Raju Singh Bista, too, issued a press statement condemning how Barla had been disallowed to move out of his residence.

Another BJP MP, Arjun Singh of Barrackpore, alleged on Thursday that the police blocked his way to a place where he was going to provide relief material. “While on the way to distribution of food packets and other necessities, I have been detained by police at Amdanga under my LS constituency,” Singh alleged in a tweet on Thursday.

However, the party’s Hooghly MP Locket Chatterjee distributed relief material within her constituency without facing any trouble.

While the administration remained tightlipped, senior Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader and state food minister Jyoti Priya Mallick said that BJP leaders were trying to create trouble at a time the government was focussed on strict implementation of coronavirus lockdown and ensuring that relief reached every household in need.

Source: Hindustan Times

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