The politically volatile Parui area of Birbhum district witnessed two more violent clashes at as many villages on Saturday as supporters of the ruling Trinamool Congress and the opposition BJP hurled crude bombs at each other. Police burst tear gas shells and allegedly fired a couple of rounds to bring the situation under control.
Incidentally, the clashes at Golapbag and Sirsita villages took place when local TMC leaders sought to organise meetings there. Both the villages have a sizeable number of BJP supporters of which most have shifted allegiance from the TMC —- the root cause leading to the simmering tension in the area.
As per the police, two residents of Golapbag village were arrested in the morning in connected with a case. As the police team was returning, the irate villagers attacked them. The situation turned worse some time later when a group of TMC supporters tried to enter the Golapbag village for a political meeting. Sources said the BJP leadership had instructed the locals not to allow the meeting in Golapbag village, situated near the Choumandalpur village where a fortnight ago police had recovered nearly 1,000 crude bombs. Both the BJP and TMC supporters entered into clash and hurled hundreds of crude bombs at each other.
Meanwhile, at another village, Sirsita, situated 10 km away from Golapbag, police had to burst tear gas shells to scare away clashing villagers who hurled crude bombs before a meeting of district TMC President Anubrata Mondal.
A senior police officer said to stop bombing in Sirsita village where Mondal was slated to address a meeting, a force was sent and the situation brought under control. Some villagers claimed the police opened fire in air to scare away the mob but it was not confirmed. A stronghold of the TMC, Sirsita village is now controlled by the BJP.
The clashes led to a war of words between the BJP and the TMC.
BJP state president Rahul Sinha claimed that the TMC cadres are trying to capture villages with the help of police. “Police officials and administration are guarding and supporting TMC cadres. The TMC leaders have a huge stock of arms. They are trying to capture those villages which have shifted their allegiance to BJP,” alleged Sinha.
BJP Birbhum district president Dudhkumar Mondal claimed that the police along with TMC men were forcing “our supporters to switch to TMC”.
Meanwhile, Anubrata Mondal, TMC district president blamed the BJP for the spiralling cases of violence in Parui alleging that the saffron activists wanted to intimidate TMC supporters in the area. “BJP is trying to create a communal divide in the area. They are targeting the villages which are dominated by minorities”.
The area had been witnessing turf war between TMC and opposition BJP for past two months.