The police arrested 49 individuals after a mob attacked the Dholahat police station at South 24 Parganas district. The mob had allegedly arrived at the station protesting the mysterious death of an affluent cattle trader. A 28-year-old died in the clashes that took place on Sunday evening.
With the Muslim community alleging that the cattle trader was murdered by those associated with right-wing Hindu groups, concentrated in the Hindu majority village of Bhajna. Since the incident, communal tension has prevailed in the area with both communities alleging atrocities.
Bhajna village is one of the few Hindu-majority villagers in the otherwise Muslim-dominated area and has a number of youths associated with cattle protection outfits, many of them associated with the right-wing Hindu groups. However villagers have denied the allegation, while the police also believe that the ‘communal motive’ is unlikely. “We are investigating the matter. The family members of the deceased have alleged that the murder was motivated by religion, but we can’t just arrest someone like that,” said Ashesh Biswas, sub-divisional police officer (Kakdwip)
The FIR in the case of Sunday’s violence has been filed under a number of sections of the Indian Penal Code including 144, 145, 149 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 152 (assaulting public servant when suppressing riot), 153 (spreading communal tension), 307 (attempt to murder), 354 (molestation), 427 (damage to public property), 353 (assault on public servant) and different sections of the Arms Act.
Meanwhile, of the 49 arrested, three – identified as Hanif Mollah, Saifuddin Haldar, Haider Ali Sordar — were sent to police custody by a court in Kakdwip. While the rest have been sent to jail by the court for over 14 days. The police admitted that communal tension prevailed in the area and RAF has been deployed in the area in an attempt to bring order and peace in the area.
While the police maintain that they fired two rounds to disperse the crowd, villagers allege that 14 rounds had been fired without any prior warning. TMC MLA Jagaranjan Haldar said, “It is tragic that a young man has died like this. It is also equally tragic that a police station and government officials were attacked like this. But the law will take its course and investigation will continue. We are taking steps so that those who’re innocent can be released and that shops can be reopened.”