A clash broke out between TMC and BJP supporters at Barasat in North 24 Parganas on Thursday night, following which police resorted to lathicharge and lobbed tear gas shells. A large number of security personnel was deployed in the area and 14 people had been arrested.
According to sources, the TMC accused the BJP of beating up a local businessman at a club in Dasnagar Colony. The TMC claimed the man to be their supporter. The TMC said when they came to know of the incident, they informed police. After Barasat police went to the spot to rescue the man, a clash broke out between the supporters of BJP and TMC. Local residents pelted the police with stones and bombs were hurled in the area. To bring the situation under control, police resorted to lathicharge. The Rapid Action Force and Combat Force were also deployed, added the sources.
“Fourteen people have been arrested for creating a law-and-order problem in the area and for attacking on-duty police officials,” said a Barasat police official.
Police said nearly 10 people, including four policemen, were injured in the clash.
The area was once a CPM bastion. However, nearly 100 CPM supporters joined TMC after it came to power. However, BJP has gained strength in the area recently.
Following the clash, TMC district president Jyotipriya Mullick said, “BJP supporters abducted our people. I don’t know how are they getting this power. This area was full of anti-social people during the CPM regime. The same anti-social people have joined the BJP now and are again triggering violence here.”
However, the BJP denied all the allegations. BJP district president Pradip Bandopadhyay said, “It is not true that BJP members abducted a TMC supporter. There was some issue over some payment. He was present in the club to discuss the issue. Out of the local residents present in the club, only two were BJP supporters. Unnecessarily, the TMC is trying to politicise the matter.” The BJP alleged that police were misinformed that a TMC worker was abducted.
“When police tried to disperse the crowd, it triggered anger and people also retaliated. It was a money-related issue among a few local residents. It is alleged that even roadside houses were vandalised,” said a BJP worker.
A police official said, “There was tension in one of the local clubs. We received information that a few people have been confined there. To ensure peace, a large number of policemen tried to enter the area. But people started attacking us and pelted us with stones. Proper action has been taken, and if need be, more people will be arrested.” Police, however, refused to speak on the political affiliations of those arrested. The BJP claimed that most of those who were arrested were their workers.