'A party's IT cell working to create riot-like situation during Durga Puja'

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee | PTI

In an indirect reference to the BJP, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday cautioned against "attempts by a certain political party" to stoke communal tension on social media during the upcoming festive season.

Banerjee, who was addressing a meeting with Durga Puja organisers and Kolkata Police at Netaji Indoor Stadium on Monday, said, "The IT cell of a certain political party is at work to instigate people, and create a riot-like situation by spreading rumours on social media during the season of Durga Puja and other festivals. Please defeat such conspiracies."

Banerjee said the state government, with the help of puja organisers and people of different communities living in West Bengal for decades, will defeat such divisive forces.

Banerjee also warned the "particular political party not to play with fire".

"We have to be alert against any attempt to create communal animosity, and I urge clubs and voluntary organisations to coordinate with law and order machinery to ensure all festivals in September-October-November are celebrated peacefully," Banerjee said.

Banerjee said puja committees should not be "tempted and swayed" by monetary offers from any organisation, which may want to use the festival to serve its own "dubious purpose".

Banerjee announced that 2,500 puja committees in Kolkata and 25,000 such committees in suburbs will each get Rs 10,000 from the state government this year.

Banerjee said her government would organise the Red Road Carnival this year as well to showcase prominent puja idols, on October 23.

"We plan to raise the number of puja committees taking part in the carnival from 55 to 75 this year," she said.

Idol immersions will take place from October 19 to October 22.

Referring to last year's restrictions on immersions on October 1, the day of Muharram, Banerjee added, "We had taken the decision keeping the interest of everyone in mind. But, some people wanted to create trouble and spread all sorts of misinformation on social networks.”

"These people have also created fake government circulars on social media to create confusion among the people in the past. Thankfully, all communities cooperated with the administration to defeat their game plan,” Banerjee noted.