West Bengal police on Friday stopped delegations from Opposition parties from visiting Basirhat in North-24 Parganas district, which witnessed communal violence recently over a Facebook post. According to police, delegations of BJP, CPM and Congress were stopped because Section 144 of CrPC was in force in the riot-hit areas.
The BJP delegation was stopped near Michael Nagar and party leaders, including MP Roopa Ganguly, detained. They were released later. Ganguly said, “They do not want us to visit the victims. One person has died. The state government stopped us.”
Police said Ganguly and 19 other BJP leaders were detained and brought to the local police station. “We cannot allow anyone to visit the area. This is the decision of the administration. The situation there is still tense,” said a senior police officer.
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh slammed the state government for stopping the delegation. “Our leaders wanted to visit the violence-hit areas of Basirhat and talk to those affected. However, they were stopped and taken into custody. We strongly condemn this. Tomorrow, we will hold a protest rally in Kolkata and meet the Governor to demand imposition of President’s Rule in the state,” he said. “The state government must take help from the central government to restore law and order. It should also give compensation worth Rs 10 lakh and a job to the family of the man who died.”
Earlier in the day, separate delegations of Left Front and Congress, too, were stopped from visiting the riot-hit areas. “Police are stopping those who are here to talk about peace, but not acting against troublemakers,” said CPM MP Mohammad Salim, who was part of the party delegation. State Congress chief Adhir Chowdhury said: “We were going there to take stock of the situation, not to derive political mileage.”
State Food Minister Jyotipriya Mallick said the government was trying to restore peace. “Why are Opposition parties in a hurry? They can go there later,” he said.