Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Opposes Governor’s “Foundation Day” Announcement

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has strongly criticized Governor CV Ananda Bose’s decision to designate June 20 as the “Foundation Day” of Bengal. Rejecting the declaration, Banerjee asserted that the state’s existence was not rooted in a specific date but rather emerged as a consequence of the painful partition of India. In a letter to the Governor, she emphasized that the memories of partition still haunt the people of Bengal, making it unnecessary to commemorate a particular day as the state’s foundation.

Banerjee expressed her surprise and dismay at the “unilateral decision” made by the Governor, emphasizing that the process of creating Bengal out of the undivided State of Bengal in 1947 involved the displacement and uprooting of millions of people across the border. The aftermath of partition resulted in immense suffering, loss of life, and disruption of communication and infrastructure in the truncated state of West Bengal. Given this history, Banerjee stated that Bengal has never celebrated or rejoiced over a specific foundation day, choosing instead to view partition as a tragic consequence of communal forces that were difficult to resist at the time.

In her letter, Banerjee also noted that she had discussed her concerns with the Governor during a previous telephone conversation, where he himself admitted that the decision to declare a particular day as the Foundation Day of West Bengal was unnecessary and lacked consultation. The Chief Minister criticized the decision to hold celebrations at the Raj Bhavan, suggesting that such an event would likely be a partisan political gathering rather than a representation of the people or the government.

June 20, 1947, holds significance as the day when two separate meetings of legislators in the Bengal Assembly were held to decide whether Bengal Presidency would be part of India or Pakistan. However, Banerjee argued that the pain and trauma of partition overshadow any notion of celebrating this date as the state’s foundation. The official demarcation of borders between Bengal and Punjab was made public by the Cyril Radcliffe Boundary Commission on August 17, 1947, following the passing of the India Independence Act by the British Parliament on July 15, 1947.

As the dispute over Bengal’s “Foundation Day” continues, it remains to be seen how the state government and the Governor’s office will resolve their differences regarding the commemoration of Bengal’s history and the impact of partition on its people.

Sources By Agencies

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