A DAY after one person died after he was caught in a clash between Bajrang Dal activists and police in Purulia on Ram Navami, fresh violence was reported from West Burdwan district Monday, in which one person allegedly died and five cops sustained injuries. While Trinamool Congress leader and Asansol Mayor Jitendra Tiwari said a 35-year-old man died in Monday’s clash, police did not confirm the same. The incident allegedly took place when members of two communities clashed at Raniganj in Asansol Sadar sub-division over a Ram Navami rally taken out by locals, with support from VHP. Several police vehicles and shops were vandalised and torched during the clash, said police.
Trouble allegedly started when the procession, where no arms were being carried, was passing through Rajpara — a Muslim-dominated area. “Some people, who were a part of the procession, were singing… people from the other community objected. This led to a verbal exchange, which soon turned into a clash… Some miscreants pelted stones at those participating in the procession,” said a local resident.
Police said DC (Headquarters) Arindam Dutta Choudhury and four others sustained injuries in the clash. “Choudhury was injured when a bomb was thrown at him… Several police vehicles were also torched and a few houses burnt,” said a police officer.
“It was a peaceful rally on Ram Navami with no arms. Suddenly, they were attacked by unknown miscreants, which triggered violence… A 35-year-old man died in the clash. Several people, including police officers, have been injured,” Mayor Tiwari said. “The local residents have demanded a fair probe and we support it. It must be probed who instigated the clash,” he added.
VHP organisational secretary Sachindra Nath Sinha said: “A traditional Ram Navami celebration was being held in Raniganj. However, the procession was attacked, even bomb thrown on police officers. They (Muslims) are creating trouble. It was pre-planned and they had stockpiled stones and bombs.”
“Police should have held a meeting with the organisers of the rally or informed us beforehand. Instead, they are arresting our supporters. They should have deployed men in sensitive areas,” he added.
Murshidabad in North 24 Parganas also witnessed trouble on Monday. In Kandi area, clashes broke out when the participants in a Ram Navami rally, allegedly armed with swords and tridents, tried to enter a police station. Ram Navami Utsav Committee, also comprising BJP and VHP activists, had organised the rally, Additional SP (Sadar) Anish Sarkar said. “A clash ensued as a few participants of the rally hurled stones at the police station and the vehicles parked outside. The police had to lathicharge the agitators,” he said.