Communal clashes erupt during Muharram procession in West Bengal

Several people including two police officers were injured though government maintains it as minor incident

Gulf News

Kolkata: Incidents of communal clashes between Hindus and Muslims were reported from the Nadia, North 24 Parganas and West Midnapore districts of West Bengal over the past two days.

The state government described the incidents as “minor”.

While clashes at Chandannagar, in Hooghly district, and Naihati in North 24 Parganas were reported on Wednesday evening, the industrial town of Kharagpur remained tense all of Thursday as police imposed a curfew to maintain law and order.

The entire town remained tense with some shops being ransacked and a few people, including some police officers, sustaining injuries.

Anuj Sharma, Additional Director General of West Bengal Police (Law and Order), however described the unrest as “minor incidents”.

“Everything is under control and there is nothing to worry about,” Sharma told Gulf News.

In Naihati, several people sustained injuries during a Muharram procession in what locals said was the explosion of a crude bomb.

In Chandannagar, shops were attacked, following which Section 144 was clamped by the district administration.

However, in Kharagpur, the unrest led to the death of a 14-year old Dalit boy.

“The boy was riding a motorcycle and accidentally hit a Muslim girl. A mob beat up the boy so badly that he succumbed to the injuries. Since then an uneasy calm prevailed in the area,” said an eyewitness.

On Tuesday, as violence broke out, several shops were razed and about a dozen two-wheelers damaged.

Police forces from adjoining areas were deployed in order to tackle the situation.

While a curfew was imposed, even two days later, personnel from central forces are still camping in the area.

“We had arrested 45 people on charges of rioting. They were presented at the court today. While six of them have been sent to police custody, the rest have been sent to jail,” a police officer said.

Through there was no official comment from the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), opposition parties specially the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) slammed chief minister Mamata Banerjee for not being able to curb communal tensions in the state.

“The 34 years of Left Front government always ensured communal harmony. No tolerance was followed for the criminals trying to disrupt harmony. But TMC is sheltering such elements giving rise to such tensions all over the state,” said CPM state secretary Surya Kanta Mishra.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also slammed the ruling TMC for being covertly trying to communalise the state for political gains. “TMC is doing all this in areas where BJP has a major presence. Kharagpur constituency was won by our state president Dilip Ghosh and it was a deliberate attack on the people,” State BJP secretary Sayantan Basu said.