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Bengal: Situation Tense in Howrah, Bankura After Instigation by VHP-led Ram Navami Rallies

In Howrah, Ram Navami procession went through areas with majority Muslim residents while raising slogans against minorities.
Bengal: Situation Tense in Howrah, Bankura Following Instigation by VHP-led Ram Navami Rallies

Image Courtesy: NewsTrack

Kolkata: A riotous situation was created in West Bengal as two communities came head-on after the Vishva Hindu Parishad called Ramnavami processions that entered minority areas of the state and gave anti-minority slogans. In Bankura, Howrah, and Kakinara, wide-scale stone-pelting reportedly took place.

In Bankura, stones were thrown from the procession, injuring the Assistant Superintendent of Police. Several motorbikes were torched and shops and establishments belonging to the minority community were vandalised. The police had to resort to tear gas shelling to contain the unruly mob in Bankura. Later, the Rapid Action Force (RAF) was mobilised to protect law and order in Bankura town.

In Kakinara, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) observed the event. Several TMC councillors and BJP MP Arjun Singh were seen taking part in the Ram Navami procession. It can be recalled that Kakinada and Bhatapara had made headlines for intergroup clashes. Further, the recent showcase of muscle power and the apparent TMC-BJP bonhomie have instilled fear amid the minority population of the area.

In Howrah, the Fazirbazaar area near GT Road saw the procession going through areas with majorly Muslim residents with slogans against minorities. Following this, widespread stone-pelting began. The procession again started straying from its original route to Ramkrishna Ghat in the evening.

A second procession from Howrah’s Shalimar entered minority areas where shoppers had come out as the Ramjan month is ongoing. The procession’s high pitched anti-Muslim slogans led to alteration between the residents of the area and procession participants.

Notably, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee instructed the police to ensure that Ram Navami processions could go through all the areas smoothly. However, wherever processions were taken out, instigations took place targeting the religious minority community of the state.

In Howrah’s Sakrail area, the VHP activists armed themselves while participating in the procession.

The roads of Howrah on Sunday became the hotbed of communal strife as police from the local Shibpur police station rushed to contain the mob.

The RAF was deployed to contain the mob who created roadblocks after roadblocks in Shibpur of Howrah.

In Bankura town’s Machantola area to Nungola road and Subhas road, pitched battles were fought between the people in the VHP and RSS Ramnavami processions, and the procession participants did widespread stone-pelting, injuring the additional police superintendent of Bankura, Vivek Varma.

A huge police picket was posted in Machantola to prevent rehappening of any further incidents. The police had to resort to lathi charging after the Rama Navami procession in Bankura town was barricaded ahead of the Machantola petrol pump, and the procession participants regrouped themselves in small groups and started brickbatting the police and started vandalising the local shops and establishments and parked motorbikes. Couple of journalists were also injured in the stone pelting.

Police were unable to contain the stone pelters who entered the neighbourhood bylanes and continued violence for about three hours. At around 8 O’clock in the evening, SP Dhritiman Saha moved in with a large police contingent and contained the mob.

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