West Bengal’s strife-torn Asansol was cordoned off, internet services snapped and a large contingent of police force led by experienced officers conducted route marches across the city on Thursday after one person died in communal violence on Wednesday night, taking the total death toll in Ram Navami violence to four. Though no fresh violence was reported on Thursday, 60 people were arrested in Asansol. Meanwhile, normalcy has returned to Raniganj, Purulia and Kankinara which witnessed communal violence since March 25, reports The New Indian Express.
Local MP and union minister Babul Supriyo was booked when he allegedly pushed two on-duty police officers when prevented from entering Asansol on Thursday. He called up PM Narendra Modi and complained to him about the ‘biased’ role of the state police, sources revealed. ‘Babul Supriyo was pushed back by Asansol residents as he was sitting comfortably in a Durgapur five-star hotel when Asansol was burning,’ Asansol mayor Jitendra Tiwari said.
State BJP Mahila Morcha president Locket Chatterjee was also prevented from entering Raniganj.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee called an emergency meeting with top police officials and bureaucrats after returning from New Delhi on Thursday evening and discussed the security measurements for Hanuman Jayanti on March 31.
The state rejected the centre’s proposal to dispatch paramilitary forces and deployed a contingent of specially-trained state police personnel led by senior IPS officers Siddhinath Gupta, Jawed Shamim and Vineet Goyal, who handled the last year’s Gorkhaland agitation.
Meanwhile, governor Keshari Nath Tripathi was forced to cancel his trip to Durgapur on Wednesday to meet injured police officer Arindam Dutta Choudhury after the state government said that it would not be able to give adequate security to him.
In Patna, two local BJP leaders were arrested on Thursday for the communal clashes in Bihar’s Samastipur district, the main opposition RJD mounted fresh attacks on the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government for its failure to rein-in Ram Navami related communal violence.
Dinesh Jha and Mohan Patwa were arrested along with ten others for their involvement in the communal clashes at Rosera on Tuesday. Jha is a member of the BJP’s state farmers’ wing and Patwa, a member of the party’s state weavers’ wing. Patwa, who has an RSS background, was allegedly one of the leaders who incited the violence that left nearly 60 people injured.
A mosque was vandalised and a saffron flag was forcibly hoisted on top of a minaret by a mob a day after a Ram Navami procession in the town. Samastipur superintendent of police Dipak Ranjan said the arrests were made on the basis of video footage during the skirmishes.
The arrests sparked protests by BJP workers at Rosera. BJP’s Samastipur district president Ramsumran Singh dubbed the arrests ‘one-sided’ and demanded early release of the two leaders.BJP, an ally of the state’s JD(U)-led government, held its core committee meeting and accused RJD leaders of ‘spreading rumours about a particular community’. Recent incidents of communal clashes figured in this meeting, chaired by BJP’s state in-charge Bhupendra Yadav. ‘The opposition leader (Tejashwi Yadav of RJD) is unduly speaking on these incidents and spreading rumours about a particular community. By doing this, he is creating an atmosphere of fear,’ said senior BJP leader and road construction minister Nand Kishore Yadav. The RJD rubbished the minister’s charges and said the opposition party could not keep quiet when communal violence was spreading across the state.
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