<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an unprecedented incident, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced on Thursday that she would stay overnight at the state secretariat, Nabanna, till the Army withdraws its routine exercise of collecting data of load carriers operating in the state across all toll plazas. “Very unfortunate. Army stationed in front of Nabanna, the Bengal State Secretariat, in a high security zone, inspite of police objection. I am waiting here at the Secretariat and watching, to guard our democracy,” she announced at a media briefing held at 10 pm. “Is this a military coup? I gathered information whether such exercises were held in Maharashtra, Odisha and Kerala. I was told that no such exercises have taken place in their states,” added Banerjee. Presently, Army officials are stationed at the Vidyasagar Setu Toll Plaza, which is adjacent to the state secretariat, gathering data on load carriers. On the other hand, the Army Eastern Command Headquarters has issued a statement saying that it is not a deployment, but just a routine exercise. The statement also added that the administration, District Magistrate and the Police are informed during the exercise being performed. “The army conducts annual exercise throughout the county with the aim of getting statistical data about the load carriers that could be made available to the Army in case of a contingency. For this purpose vehicles are spotted to get basic parameters like make load capacity. The vehicle is then marked so that the next checkpoint knows that the vehicle had already been checked for the parameters. There is nothing alarming about this and it is carried out as per government orders,” read the statement, adding, “This gives an estimate about the number of vehicles that are passing a certain area that could be tapped during operations.” Sources in the Army revealed that Thursday was the second day of the three-day long annual exercise. Some more figures of the load carriers will be noted across different toll plazas tomorrow. The CPRO, Defence, Kolkata, Wing Commander SS Birdi claimed that the exercise is undertaken after informing the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police. “This is not a deployment. This exercise is taking place under the laid down rules of the Central Government. The police and the administration are kept in the loop. There is nothing to get alarmed about,” said Birdi.

Taken from: 

‘Is this a coup?’, Mamata opposes Army presence, to stay overnight at secretariat