BengalFreshly Brewed

Sequence of Bengal riots during Ram Navami and the resilience of its people

Kolkata: When Amit Shah, President of Bharatiya Janata Party was constituting a four-member committee on Friday to visit the violence-hit areas of Asansol a group of activists and commoners of Kolkata took on to the streets of the city to spread the message of Universal Brotherhood and unity in diversity.

The four-member team, comprising BJP’s national vice-president Om Mathur, spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain and two MPs — Roopa Ganguly and B D Ram will visit Asansol to prepare a report with regards to the communal riots that broke out during Ram Navami celebrations and submit it before Shah. On the other hand NGOs like Bangla Sanskriti Manch and Bhasha and Chetna Samiti, look all set to spread the message of unity, peace and harmony by organising a series of brotherhood campaign in various districts across West Bengal.

Speaking to eNewsroom, Samirul Islam said, “We plan to host a similar rakhsha bandhan celebration in Asansol, Raniganj, Durgapur and other towns of Bengal. The riots that broke out recently violate the spirit of Bengal and of course India. We are looking forward to restoring peace and communal harmony within the state. However, keeping into account that the State Board Examinations are on, we will hold these programmes post April 14.” He added, “Communal unrest in the land of Rabindranath Tagore and Nazrul Islam will not be tolerated.”

On March 25, Ram Navami celebration took an ugly turn when clashes broke out at various districts (Asansol, Raniganj and Durgapur) of Bengal, leaving three dead and several injured. Following the riots Section 144 was imposed in Asansol and a detailed report was sought from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee by the Centre on March 28. Following which Mamata stated that her government would be taking stern action against the miscreants responsible for rioting. She further asserted that riots were definitely unacceptable in her state.

Ram Navami, had been a bone of contention since long, with the saffron brigade declaring that they would defy the rulings to that barred them from displaying arms during processions. The members of the Ram Navami procession also clashed with the Police in Murshidabad and Bardhaman districts of Bengal.

An injured local from Raniganj succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday triggered a fresh trouble in the area. Following which curfew was imposed to control the situation. While the Asansol-Durgapur deputy commissioner of police Arindam Dutta Chowdhury, lost one of his hands when one of the agitators hurled a bomb at him, officer-in-charge (OC) Pramit Ganguly received head injuries while trying to contain the violence.

Union minister and Asansol MP (BJP) Babul Supriyo, who was supposed to participate in one the rallies in Raniganj had backed out in the last moment, for reasons unknown. However, he has now alleged “premeditated attack, meant to hurt me”.

Reacting to violence reported during the Ram Navami rallies, Mamata Banerjee directed the director general of police (DGP) to instruct all the superintendents of police (SPs) to take strong action against those who carried arms during the rallies. “The law will take its own course. I will not tolerate this,” she said. She further added that action would be taken against the police officials who failed to take the necessary measures in this regard.

“An FIR has been lodged against Dilip Ghosh, BJP state president under several non-bailable sections,” said West Mindapore district Superintendent of Police Alok Rajoria. Ghosh had been seen participating in a Ram Navami rally with a sword and a mace at Kharagpur in West Midnapore district on Sunday.

It’s not just Ghosh, against whom an FIR has been lodged. “A case has also registered against actor-turned-politician Locket Chatterjee. She is the president of BJP West Bengal Mahila Morcha and had allegedly participated in an armed Ram Navami procession which was taken out in Birbhum district of Bengal on Sunday. She was seen sporting a trident in her hand,” said N Sudheer Kumar, Superintendent of Police.

Both Trinamul Congress and the BJP had organised several processions to celebrate Ram Navami across the state, with the saffron party dubbing the rallies as the first step towards “uniting the Hindus” of Bengal.

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