No fresh violence in West Bengal today, say police; 200 arrested in 42 cases
West Bengal additional director general (law and order) Jawed Shamim said several preventive arrests have been made and police have managed to prevent many incidents
More than 200 people have been arrested in 42 cases registered by the police in connection with the violence that erupted in parts of West Bengal during protests against the controversial remarks of two former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokespersons on Prophet Mohammed, a senior state police officer said on Monday.
There were no fresh incidents of violence in the state on Monday, said Jawed Shamim, West Bengal Police’s additional director general (law and order).
“Several preventive arrests have been made and police have managed to prevent many incidents,” he added. Like in Nadia district’s Nakashipara where some people violated prohibitory orders but were dispersed by the police who used cane-charge and teargas shells. Some persons were also arrested.
Kolkata’s Narkeldanga police has also summoned suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma on June 20 after a complaint was lodged against her.
Shamim said 42 cases have been registered for the violence that first broke out in Howrah on Thursday, and spread to some other districts such as Murshidabad, North 24 Parganas, Krishnanagar and Nadia on Friday and over the weekend. Apart from minor injuries sustained by people due to stones thrown by the mob and cane charged by the police, Shamim said there was no loss of life or life-threatening injuries in the violence.
“The situation is absolutely peaceful in the state. Some incidents took place because of incitements. Police have tackled them well,” said Firhad Hakim, state minister.
The top police officer said the Bengal Police will take stringent action against the accused and had registered first information reports (FIRs) for every minor incident that took place including blocking roads and trains.
Of the 42 cases, Shamim said 17 cases were registered in Howrah city, nine in rural areas of Howrah, three in Murshidabad and four in Krishnanagar. Cases were also registered in other police districts including Jangipur, Diamond Harbour and Kharagpur, he said..
Internet services were restored on Monday in the Howrah district and shopkeepers were encouraged in many areas to open their shops. But prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code will continue to remain in force in the district till June 15. Prohibitory orders also continue to remain in force in Nadia district’s Nakashipara area where a train was vandalized on Sunday and in two blocks of Murshidabad where internet services have not been restored.
In Nadia, Nakasahipara traders called a 72-hour-bandh over the loss of property in the violence. At Panchla and other places of Howrah, police personnel could be seen marching down the streets and urging people to reopen their shops that have been closed since Saturday.
“There was no fish or vegetables at home to cook. We ate only dal, rice and boiled potatoes. If the market reopens we would buy something to cook. I don’t know when the situation will become normal,” said Barun Das, a resident of Panchla.
At Panchla, local revenue officials reached out to the shopkeepers to survey the extent of damage and identify traders who suffered losses.
“I opened my shop after a gap of three days. I had pulled down the shutter on Friday when the violence had started,” said Gopal Das, who runs a grocery store in the Panchla Bazar area.
The Calcutta high court also took up a bunch of petitions that sought the deployment of central forces to tackle the law and order situation and sought the state’s response to demands that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe the violence and the central forces be used.
The BJP, which started a three-day sit-in protest on Sunday, organised a rally on Monday. “A particular community is damaging public property after being incited by chief minister Mamata Banerjee. There are no signs of peace in West Bengal. We have been urging from the first day to deploy central forces and army,” said Suvendu Adhikari, leader of the opposition in the state assembly.