BJP MPs Meenakshi Lekhi, Om Mathur and Satyapal Singh were detained on Saturday after police stopped them from entering the violence-hit Basirhat in North-24 Parganas district. The three have been taken to Kolkata airport police station, reported news agency ANI. “Hum saansad hain pata hai aapko? Privilege motion aa jaayega to aap mar jaaoge (Do you know that I’m an MP? If we move the privilege motion, you’ll be finished), MP Om Mathur is heard saying to a police official, reported ANI.
Lekhi also asked the police if the situation was under control in Basirhat, as claimed by the state government, why were they not allowed to go there? “We are MPs and only we three will go there. You accompany us,” she told policemen, as quoted by PTI. On Friday, BJP MP Roopa Ganguly and 19 other leaders were also detained. Claiming they were arrested, Ganguly had said: “They do not want us to visit those against whom having atrocities are being committed. One person has died. The government forcibly stopped us and then arrested us.” The leaders were later released.
Left Front and Congress delegations were also stopped from entering the area due to imposition of Section 144 of CrPC (prohibiting an assembly of more than four people) in the village. “We cannot allow anyone to visit the area. This is the decision of the administration. The situation is still tense,” said a senior police officer said on Friday.
BJP is also likely to submit a memorandum to Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi today demanding imposition of President’s Rule in Bengal. “It was a pre-announced programme. Our leaders wanted to go violence-hit areas of Basirhat and talk to the affected people. However, the government stopped us and arrested our leaders. We strongly condemn this. Tomorrow, we will hold a protest rally in Kolkata and meet the Governor to demand the imposition of President’s Rule,” state BJP president Dilip Ghosh said on Friday.
Meanwhile, a delegation including former judge S N Dhingra told Home Minister Rajnath Singh that Hindus were allegedly being targeted in the flare-up. Basirhat and Baduria were struck with communal violence after a 17-year-old boy shared a Facebook post with “objectionable images” on the Prophet and Kaaba at Mecca. Following the circulation of the post, a violent mob vandalised shops and homes, and set fire to vehicles, triggering retaliatory violence. A 65-year-old man succumbed to stab wounds on Thursday morning. Three others have also been injured in the violence.