The Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal told the Ministry of Home Affairs that it does not need additional paramilitary forces even as fresh incidences of violence was reported in Basirhat areas of North 24-Parganas district on Thursday. The Home Ministry said that eight paramilitary companies (100 personnel each) had been sent to West Bengal, but the state government conveyed to the ministry that it doesn’t need four of them, PTI reported. The agitators blocked roads and used tear gas while protesting, according to the news agency ANI. According to reports, one person who was injured in the violence later died at a hospital.
“We have sent eight companies of paramilitary forces (comprising 100 personnel each) to West Bengal for deployment in the communal violence-affected areas. However, the West Bengal government has conveyed that it does not require four of the eight companies,” a Union Home Ministry spokesperson told PTI.
A senior police officer said, “Fresh tension brewed up at Basirhat town and station area after the communal clashes in Baduria in the district. Police had to resort to cane charge and teargas shells to disperse unruly crowd.”
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah, meanwhile, constituted a team comprising Om Mathur, Meenakshi Lekhi, Satyapal Singh and BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, who will visit the affected area and will submit a report to Shah on the issue.
Later in the day, Vijayvargiya and state unit president Dilip Ghosh were met with protests when they went to a government-run hospital to visit the relatives of a person who they claimed was killed in communal riots in Baduria. Vijayvargiya alleged that the Trinamool Congress activists stopped them. On the other hand, Ghosh alleged that the TMC workers were out to assault him and damage his vehicle.
On Wednesday, Baduria and adjoining Basirhat, remained under complete lockdown as the state government imposed a curfew after communal violence. The violence broke out in the area on Sunday evening when a class XI student posted an “objectionable images’’ linked to the Prophet and Kaaba Sharif in Mecca on Facebook. Following this a mob vandalised shops and homes, and set fire to vehicles, triggering retaliatory attacks. The boy since has been detained and has denied putting up the post.
The MHA deployed 300 paramilitary personnel along with RAF and local police in Basirhat on Wednesday to pacify the situation. Police requested people to maintain calm using loudspeakers throughout the day. Internet services had also been withdrawn and rail links on the Barasat-Hasnabad and Barasat-Bongaon sections of Eastern Railways had been disrupted by the protesters.
However, the situation had worsened after the war of words between Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee and Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi. Banerjee alleged that she was threatened and “insulted” by the governor, which was further denied by the Governor. Seeing the situation, BJP State President Dilip Ghosh had demanded President rule in the state on Wednesday.