WB: 3 Killed, Several Others Injured In Clashes At Multiple Locations During Ram Navami Processions
March 27th, 2018
Till now, about three people have lost their lives in the violent clashes during the Ram Navami celebrations in West Bengal.
A 55-years-old man died after he was attacked by a mob in Purulia’s Bhursa village on March 25. On March 26, a person died in Kankinara in the North-24 Parganas district and another man died in the Paschim Bardhaman district.
In Raniganj, about five policemen were injured and in Murshidabad’s Kandi, seven people, including a child, three journalist and two policemen were injured.
Rallies taken out by BJP and TMC on the occasion of Ram Navami
The Ram Navami celebrations were surrounded by controversy with clashes being reported from several parts of West Bengal. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other saffron outfits took out armed rallies. This was against the ban imposed on armed processions by the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress government.
The Ram Navami rally in the West Bengal’s Purulia district on March 25, saw several people including minor girls and boys walking with sharp weapons like swords and knives.
The local BJP leaders had earlier threatened to defy the ban on carrying arms during the Ram Navami processions. State BJP president Dilip Ghosh claimed, “There would be an armed rally in Kharagpur. I will carry weapons myself. This has been an old tradition here to conduct armed rallies. It would continue. It seems we are approaching towards Ram Rajya. Those who did not want it, are also wanting it now. I am sure Ram Mandir would also be built in Ayodhya.”
Apart from BJP, TMC also took out separate Ram Navami rallies in the state.Senior TMC leaders like Saugata Roy, Bratya Basu, Gautam Deb and Asish Banerjee were among the one’s who participated in Ram Navami rallies.
Unlike in the past, TMC had taken out the Ram Navami rallies across the state, this decision was lauded by the BJP who said that “good sense” has prevailed over CM Mamata Banerjee.
Clashes reported from different parts of West Bengal
— ANI (@ANI) March 25, 2018
Situation started getting out of hand when clashes broke out between between two groups in Raniganj. When the procession was passing through the area, some shops were set on fire. This altercation between the two resulted in the death of a villager and injured three policemen. Motorcycles were burnt and policemen attacked in the local Market. Asansol-Durgapur Deputy Commissioner of Police Arindam Dutta Chowdhury reportedly lost his lost his hand when agitators hurled bomb at him.
As reported by The Times of India, the Ram Navami rally was taken out under police protection from Beldi village. However, instead of following the pre planned route to Harnama village and then returning through same path, the rallyist decided to return through the minority-dominated Bhusra village. A senior police officer told Times of India, “The BJP backed rally chose to deviate from its allotted route and stoked violence. The situation is now under control.”
On March 25, during a procession in Purulia, 55-years-old SK Shahjahan was killed when he went to the pond to take bath in Bhusra. Five policemen were also injured in the clashes.
In Kakinara, bordering North 24-Parganas’ Bhatpara Municipality, miscreants brought down a bust of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. There were reports of gunfire as well. Two persons, including balloon seller Md Maqsood Hussain, were injured in the gunfire. Both were taken to Bhatpara State General Hospital, where Hussain was declared dead early on Monday. A senior Barrackpore Commissionerate police official confirmed the death. “He was caught in the crossfire,” the officer added.
In Murshidabad’s Kandi, armed mob entered the police station. The police had to use batons to control the situation. It was reported that a puja pandal was attacked in Bardhaman.
West Bengal: 4 injured after a #RamaNavami pandal set up by BJP workers was attacked by miscreants in Bardhaman last night. BJP alleged that TMC was behind the incident. Police investigation underway. pic.twitter.com/WBP4LrrmJ4
— ANI (@ANI) March 25, 2018
CM announces strict actions
Reacting strongly on the issue, CM Mamata Banerjee said, “Some unidentified people have come here from outside…These trouble-mongers holding pistols and swords are resorting to hooliganism. This is West Bengal. This is not our culture. We celebrate Durga Puja, Kali Puja, Ganpati puja peacefully. We also celebrate Ramzan, Christmas.”
On March 26, CM Mamata Banerjee directed state administration to take strict actions against those who organised such rallies. She added that such hooligans are “trying to politicise and defame Hinduism.”
West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights (WBCPCR) has asked two Bajrang Dal members to appear before it on April 12. This is because around ten children carrying weapon had allegedly participated in their rally.
“The commission has summoned them on the basis of preliminary information given by the district magistrate of Purulia, we are waiting for the status report from other district administrations and will act accordingly.” the WBCPCR’s Chairperson Ananya Chatterjee Chakraborty told The Indian Express.
A case was registered against Locket Chatterjee, BJP’s Women Wing president for allegedly participating in an armed Ram Navami procession in Birbhum district.