CHIEF MINISTER Mamata Banerjee on Friday said no communal clash took place at Dhulagarh in Howrah district and termed it as “local problem”. “It is a small matter. It is a local problem. That was not a communal problem. I will stick to police’s version,” she told mediapersons at state secretariat Nabanna. Earlier in the day, Mamata said that no incident of rioting took place at Dhulagarh, and alleged that “wrong information” is being given out on social media. Her party, the Trinamool Congress, has alleged that “misinformation” was spread by the BJP and the RSS to give a “communal twist” to a local incident.
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“In the last 15 days, social media is running wrong information on an incident which did not take place at all,” Mamata said at a programme here, in an apparent reference to reports of violence in Dhulagarh on December 13 and 14. “If something has really happened then you (the media) have every right to report but I think a field survey must be conducted (before carrying the news),” the chief minister added.
She also said: “If there is an accident, we immediately take steps to help the family…. We do it on humanitarian grounds but we do not do any publicity.” Trinamool Congress national spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member Derek O’Brien had earlier blamed the BJP and RSS for spreading hate. O’Brien had tweeted on Thursday: “All the old social media tricks and habits of the BJP-RSS combo. Amplify a local issue. Give it a communal twist. Spread hate even after arrests. Fake photos. Bogus hashtags. Millions of dollars pumped into SM [social media]… BJP-RSS talks about Digital India but promotes Divisive India.”
A senior government official maintained that strict action had been taken against those involved in the violence in Dhulagarh, and that the process of paying compensation to the affected families has started. The state government, sources said, is paying compensation of approximately Rs 35,000 to families whose houses were damaged in the violence. In two tweets on Thursday the West Bengal Police stated, “The Dhulagarh incident was outcome of a dispute arising out of a local issue btwn [between] 2 group of people. Govt imdtly tk [immediately took] strong action… Situation under total control and normal. 58 accuse arrested. Govt has provided relief in the area.” District police officials said those who fled Dhulagarh are wary of returning home.
Delegations of BJP, CPM and the Congress have been stopped from visiting the troubled areas in recent days. Superintendent of Police, Howrah (Rural), Sabyasachi Raman Mishra was transferred in wake of the violence less than a fortnight after his appointment. The BJP has hit out at the TMC government in the state over the Dhulagarh incident and claimed that Hindus have been targeted in the violence. “I want to ask intellectuals who cried over 2002 riots in Gujarat, and then about intolerant India, when they are going to Kolkata,” Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said on Thursday.
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