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BJP links TMC’s ‘Khela Hobe Divas’ with ‘Direct Action Day’ of 1946


PTI, Jul 25, 2021, 7:51 AM IST

Kolkata: The BJP’s West Bengal unit on Saturday objected to the Trinamool Congress government’s plan to observe ”Khela Hobe (will play) Divas” on August 16, stating that the Muslim League had proclaimed the Direct Action Day on this date in 1946, which led to the killing of a large number of people.

Like previous years, the saffron camp will observe the day as ”Paschimbanga Banchao Divas” remembering the contribution of Jana Sangh founder Shyamaprasad Mookerjee to the integration of Bengal with India, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh told reporters.

The TMC said that the Mamata Banerjee government has already announced it will observe the day in memory of the football lovers who were killed during a match in Kolkata around 40 years ago, and alleged that the BJP is trying to spread hatred on the selection of the date.

”On August 16, 1946, the water of the Ganga turned red as the Muslim League’s Direct Action Day began and the Great Calcutta Killings happened. It is ironic that Mamata Banerjee gives a call for Khela Hobe Divas on that very date. What khela (game) does she mean to conduct?” he said. The Muslim League proclaimed August 16, 1946, as ‘Direct Action Day’ to press for their demand for a separate country with a Muslim majority after the British would leave the Indian subcontinent. A riot started on that day and a large number of people were killed in violence known as the ‘Great Calcutta Killings’. Ghosh said, ”Around 12,500 houses of BJP workers have been vandalised by the Trinamool Congress workers in the past two and half months. It is clear that the TMC activists have already started the game.” Reacting to the state BJP chief’s comments, TMC spokesman Kunal Ghosh said that Dilip Ghosh does not know that the sports lovers of the state have been observing August 16 as ”Krirapremi Divas” for many years when blood donation camps are organised in memory of the 16 people who were killed during the match.

Sixteen spectators were killed in a stampede and riot during a Calcutta Football League match between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan clubs in the Eden Gardens on August 16, 1980. ”Mamata Banerjee only gave more recognition to this day by declaring it as the Khela Hobe Divas when one lakh high-quality footballs made in the state will be distributed,” the TMC leader said. The BJP’s agenda of ”creating a rift and spreading hatred” on the selection of August 16 won’t succeed, he said.

The ”Kela Hobe” slogan of the TMC had become immensely popular during the high-octane campaigning of the assembly election held earlier this year. Earlier this week, BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta tweeted: ”Interesting @MamataOfficial has declared August 16 as “Khela hobe divas”. It is the day the Muslim League launched its Direct Action Day & began the Great Calcutta Killings in 1946. In today’s West Bengal, “Khela Hobe” has come to symbolise a wave of terror attacks on opponents.” Without naming anyone, TMC supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said that the state government will observe the ”Khela Hobe Divas” on August 16 in memory of the football lovers who were killed around 40 years ago and those distorting its significance do not understand the value of sports.

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