Mamata should apologise for smoking comment: Rights group

Kolkata, April 29 (IANS) A rights group Monday approached the West Bengal Human Rights Commission to complain against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urging people to smoke more and sought a public apology from her.

“The remarks made by Banerjee are unbecoming of a chief minister. She should not only withdraw her comments but also apologise publicly for it,” said Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) secretariat member Ranjit Sur.

Sur Monday led an APDR delegation and met commission chief Asok Kumar Ganguly with his complaint.

In the wake of the multi-crore Saradha Group chit-fund scam, the Banerjee government has constituted a Rs.500 crore corpus to indemnify the marginal investors who have suffered heavy losses after the company went bust.

While announcing the fund, Banerjee had said the government will levy an additional 10 percent tax on cigarettes and urged smokers to “smoke more to contribute towards the fund”.

She has come under severe attack both from political parties as well as the medical fraternity and civil society for the suggestion.

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