The state BJP leadership claimed that two party supporters and a minor suffered bullet injuries when police opened fire at them during a clash with TMC activists at Patrasayar in Bankura district.
The incident happened on Saturday evening when the three chanted ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans in front of some Trinamool Congress workers, who were returning from a rally led by state minister Suvendu Adhikari, BJP leaders claimed. Clashes broke out between the two groups allegedly over the chant, followed by a scuffle. The BJP said police had fired to disperse the mob, a claim the police and the TMC denied.
“We resorted to lathicharge and fired tear gas shells when our personnel were pelted with stones,” a police officer said. Local BJP leaders said that the three persons, including a 14-year-old boy, was admitted to the Bankura Sammiloni Medical College and Hospital. Rejecting the charge, senior TMC leader and minister Subrata Mukherjee said blank cartridges should have been lying around the spot if the police had opened fire.
On Saturday, when a BJP delegation led by Bardhaman-Durgapur MP S S Ahluwalia visited Bhatpara in North 24-Parganas, another clash erupted between BJP workers and police. One person was injured in the ensuing lathicharge. “From Bhatpara to Patrasayar, everywhere bombs are being hurled and bullets fired. The TMC is either attacking its own members or the Opposition party workers. They (TMC) along with the policemen are torturing the public. People are revolting against the atrocities and situations are going out of hand. No one is safe in Bengal. The situation in Bhatpara has remained tense for the last one month. Who is responsible for this? In both Bhatpara and Patrasayar, police opened fire on common man. Are we living in Pakistan?” state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said.
Meanwhile, police has arrested BJP’s local unit president Tamal Kanti Guin for his alleged involvement in the violence. While BJP slammed the TMC of fomenting trouble, the state ruling party hit back by saying that the saffron party is “targeting the Bengalis in Bhatpara”.
“In Bhatpara, Bengalis are being targeted, and they are fleeing the area. Bahubalis (musclemen) from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are being brought here to terrorise the Bengalis. If the entire state turns into Bhatpara, then where will we go? We will not let the rest of Bengal turn into Bhatpara,” said state minister and senior TMC leader Firhad Hakim.
The state BJP chief further said that his party workers will organise a protest outside the offices of Superintendent of Police and the Commissioner of Police across the state on Monday. “To protest against police atrocities, we will stage a protest outside SP and CP offices tomorrow. In Kolkata, we will protest outside the offices of Deputy Commissioners of Police,” Ghosh said.
The BJP leader also accused the TMC of taking “cut money” (commission) from the beneficiaries of the state government’s welfare schemes. “The people are asking TMC leaders to return their money. Even TMC chief Mamata Banerjee had to ask her party leaders to return the money. What was she doing for the last eight years? Was she not aware of such things?” Ghosh added.
Reacting to the allegations, Hakim said, “After winning some seats, a new party is desperate to come to power here. The way they engineered communal violence elsewhere in the country, they want to replicate it in Bengal.”
(With PTI inputs)