West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi on Saturday arrived in violence-hit Asansol to take stock of the situation. He held an hour long review meeting with senior police and administration officials. The governor is scheduled to visit the violence-hit areas of Raniganj and Asansol areas later in the day.
“I had a meeting with officials over the situation, I appeal to people here to maintain peace and harmony,” ANI quoted Tripathi as saying after visiting the violence-hit areas of the district.
The violence that broke out on Monday with a Ram Navami procession in Raniganj left one person dead and several police officers injured. It spread to neighbouring Asansol the next day, where a 16-year-old youth, Sibtulla Rashidi, was killed who is the son of the Imam of Noorani Masjid, Imdatullah Rashid.
Two other people, S K Sahjahan and Maqsood Khan, were killed in a violence triggered by Ram Navami processions in parts of the state last Sunday. Till now, 60 persons have been arrested in Asansol and police have recovered some arms, a top IPS officer told the Indian Express. The state government has suspended Internet services in Raniganj and Asansol, in West Burdwan district, till further notification.
Union minister Babul Supriyo and state BJP Mahila Morcha president Locket Chatterjee were also stopped from entering the Asansol-Raniganj area by police on Thursday. In a heated exchange with locals, Babul Supriyo was heard threatening locals to skin them alive. As some people approached him, Babul Supriyo was heard saying, “Aami ki apnader ke bolbo lorai koro? Ami chole jabo, apnader opor goli cholbe (Will I ask you to fight? I will leave and you will come under fire).” But when a person asked him to “go back” and leave them alone, Supriyo was heard shouting, “Chamra guthiye debo ekdom… (Will skin them alive).”
“There were two-three miscreants belonging to the TMC who were trying to create panic. They were shouting slogans against me while I was trying to meet the victims. I stopped my vehicle when I saw two elderly women weeping. They wanted to meet me and were talking about police inaction in the area… The miscreants pushed away the women… The police should have driven away the miscreants, but targeted me instead. If I said ‘chamra guthiye debo (will skin alive)’, it was out of pure anger targeted at those miscreants,” Supriyo told Indian Express. Meanwhile, both the minister and police filed an FIR against them.
A four-member central BJP delegation will on Sunday visit the Raniganj-Asansol region. State BJP general secretary Sayantan Basu told The Indian Express the team will be led by party national spokesperson Shahnawaz Hossain, with BJP MPs O P Mathur, V D Ram and Roopa Ganguly as the members. It will arrive in Kolkata on Saturday evening. “The delegation will visit violence-hit areas to take stock of the situation. They would also talk to victims and submit a report to our national president Amit Shah on the ground reality,” Basu said.
Prohibitory orders are still in force as the situation here is tense, a senior police officer said., adding that no incident of violence was reported. A huge contingent of the police and the Rapid Action Force (RAF) is patrolling the area.