Tension prevailed in West Burdwan’s Raniganj, which on Monday witnessed a clash between members of two communities, leading to the death of one person and injury to several police officers.
While 18 people have been arrested, Section 144 (prohibit an assembly of more than four people in an area) of the CrPC has been imposed and heavy police force deployed at Raniganj, said police. “Though the situation is normal as of now, police picketing will continue for some time,” said L N Meena, Commissioner of Asansol-Durgapur Police Commiserate, adding that one person has died in the clash.
State Labour Minister Moloy Ghatak, who rushed to Raniganj on Monday evening, said Mahesh Mandal (50) was hacked to death during the clash on Sunday, reported PTI. While Asansol-Durgapur Deputy Commissioner of Police Arindam Dutta Chowdhury was injured when agitators hurled a bomb at him, officer in-charge Pramit Ganguly received head injuries.
On Monday, one person had died and five police officers sustained injuries when members of two communities clashed at Raniganj in West Burdwan over a Ram Navami rally taken out under the banner of Ram Navami Udyapan Committee. Both BJP and VHP supporters participated in the rally. Trouble started when the procession, where no arms were being carried, was passing through Rajpara — a Muslim-dominated area — and members of the Muslim community prevented the Hindus from singing.
BJP’s Asansol MP and Union Minister Babul Supriyo, who was at Raniganj on Monday, alleged that police inaction had led to the violence in Raniganj.
Speaking to mediapersons in Kolkata on Tuesday, he said: “Yesterday’s violence in Raniganj occurred due to police inaction. The incident could have been averted had the police acted earlier. The goons had a free run there as the police did nothing to stop them.”
Demanding that central paramilitary force be deployed immediately in the area, he added: “I have apprised Rajnathji (Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh) about the incident and requested him to look into the matter and see if central forces could be deployed to control the situation.”
State Education Minister and Trinanmool Congress secretary general Partha Chatterjee, meanwhile, asked Supriyo to “perform in movies” and not “try to divide the society”. “If police had remained inactive then policemen would not have sustained injuries. They were injured because they were active. Supriyo only sings songs but does not see from his eye. A person like him should perform in movies. We have all respect for their work of art. But they should never try to divide the society and the people…,” he told mediapersons.
“It is unfortunate that they are indulging in such activities. In Banaras, armed processions were not taken out by the BJP, then why did they take out such processions in Bengal? Why would one party resort to two separate measures over a common occasion? There is nothing wrong is showing respect to Ram but it does not mean that Ram means only BJP or arms,” he added.
On Monday, after the clash in Raniganj, Supriyo had tweeted: “The Goons from Minority community came, slaughtered and was given a safe haven to escape. The entire nation needs to know how dirty a politics of Appeasement Mamta Govt is playing in.”
Meanwhile, Section 144 of CrPC has also been imposed at Beldi village in Purulia, where one person was killed on Sunday over a Ram Navami rally.