Communal Clash Aftermath: BJP Demands President’s Rule in Bengal

Internet services have been disrupted in the town of Baduria, under Basirhat sub-division after the clashes.

4 min read

Communal clashes broke out in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district on Monday night.

Communal tensions have marred West Bengal’s Basirhat city in North 24 Parganas district since Monday that allegedly began over an “objectionable” Facebook post about a religious site.

President of the BJP’s West Bengal wing, Dilip Ghosh, has demanded that the Centre impose President's rule in West Bengal and send Central observers to assess the deteriorating law and order situation in the state.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, however, proposed the deployment of peacekeeping forces, or a ‘Shanti Vahini on Wednesday evening, to maintain communal harmony.

Banerjee said that this 'Shanti Vahini' would be formed in 15 days in collaboration with youth and peaceful citizens and the local police stations. It would be stationed in 60,000-odd booths across the state to maintain communal harmony.

Paramilitary forces have been deployed in North 24 Parganas district following communal clashes and protests. Section 144 has been imposed in area.

Internet services have been disrupted in the town of Baduria, under Basirhat sub-division, in the wake of the clashes. Shops and markets kept their shutters down in Baduria as the communal tension spread to the nearby areas of Keosha market, Banshtala, Ramchandrapur and Tentulia.

The unrest prompted the government to rush in 400 Border Security Force (BSF) troopers to bring the situation under control. The violence spread to a few more areas on Tuesday.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday spoke with West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to take stock of the prevailing situation in the riot-hit area. The Ministry of Home Affairs also sought a detailed report from the state on the communal clashes.

Pictures of the violence were tweeted by Akshay Singh, the BJP’s IT Cell in-charge, Kolkata:

Announcements were being made via the public address system asking the people to maintain law and order. The police were also trying to convince the people to resume normal activities.

Local train services were affected in Sealdah-Bangaon section. A couple of trains plied from Basirhat station in the morning hours after which services were disrupted due to demonstrations.

There was no official confirmation about any casualties during the clashes. The incident triggered a spat between the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, whom she accused of acting like “a BJP block president” and “threatening” her.

Tripathi, a former BJP veteran and ex-speaker of Uttar Pradesh assembly, was appointed the West Bengal Governor after the Narendra Modi government was formed in 2014.

The Raj Bhavan expressed surprise over Banerjee’s “attitude and language” and said the “Governor cannot remain a mute spectator to the affairs in the state.”

The violence between the two communities at Baduria under Basirhat sub-division in the district started on Monday night over the post following which a young man was arrested, the police said on Tuesday.

Communal clashes broke out in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district on Monday night.
Communal clashes broke out in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district on Monday night.
(Photo: IANS)

A violent mob put up road blockades at several places and attacked members of the other community, besides destroying many shops, they said.

A senior Border Security Force (BSF) officer said four companies comprising 400 troops of the force's South Bengal Frontier have been deployed in Basirhat, Swarupnagar, Baduria and Devganga areas to assist the state police in containing the situation.

‘Felt So Offended That I Thought of Leaving’: Mamata Over Spat With Guv

Banerjee, while strongly reacting to her conversation with Tripathi over the incident, said she felt so offended that “I once even thought of leaving (quitting as Chief Minister)”.

A Raj Bhavan statement quoted Tripathi as having said nothing happened during the talks over which Banerjee should feel “insulted, threatened or humiliated”.

It said that the Governor asked the Chief Minister to ensure peace, and law and order by all means.

Condemning the riots, Banerjee said, “This is a serious issue, let me handle it seriously.”

She said after the arrest of one person, there should not have been any further trouble. “We were awake last night (to control it).”

I told police yesterday to stop it. They should have blocked the Facebook account. But, how many Facebook accounts can be blocked? If the police had opened fire, 200 people would have been killed.
Mamata Banerjee

She appealed to top leaders of both the communities that her government would not tolerate “this hooliganism”.

The Chief Minister was also highly critical of the Central government, saying:

The ruling party at the Centre has an agenda. They have formed a ‘Gau Raksha group’ to kill people. A ‘hate group’ was formed to foment riots. Riots are taking place in the name of Hindu Samhati.
Mamata Banerjee

Taking an indirect dig at Prime Modi, she remarked, "He is going abroad to forge unity and the country is on fire. This must be stopped."

‘2,000 Muslims Attacked Hindu Families’: BJP Leader Kailash Vijayvargiya

Accusing the state police of failure to control the situation, BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, who is also in charge of the state, wrote a letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh asking him intervene in the matter.

“More than 2,000 Muslims attacked Hindu families. Bombs went off at many places and information of Hindu sisters and daughters being raped has also been received. Local workers (of BJP) have said many facilities, including five BJP offices, were set on fire,” he said.

Banerjee said, “Someone had posted something objectionable on Facebook. He was arrested. Where is the fault of my government?”

State BJP President Dilip Ghosh said if the Governor asked her about the incident, where was the question of her being insulted.

Opposition Demands Army Deployment, All-Party Meeting

Meanwhile, the opposition Left Front and Congress demanded immediate deployment of army to control the situation at the site of the incident.

The CPI (M) state secretary Surya Kanta Mishra demanded that an all-party meeting be convened on this issue to chalk out a way to tackle the situation.

We demand an all-party meeting and army deployment. Debate on phone call is unwanted. All of us must stand united for peace and unity. We have to defeat polarisation politics.
Surya Kanta Mishra, CPI (M) state secretary

State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said army should be immediately deployed in the area to avoid any untoward incident.

(With inputs from ANI, PTI and IANS)

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