14 held as tension simmers a day after Bengal clashes
The police said, as many as 14 people have been arrested in connection with Thursday’s clashes, but their identity has not been revealed.Updated: Jun 22, 2019 00:07 IST
The situation in West Bengal’s Bhatpara remained tense on Friday, a day after two persons were killed when the police allegedly opened fire to quell violence in the area.
The police said, as many as 14 people have been arrested in connection with Thursday’s clashes, but their identity has not been revealed.
The police on Friday had to fire tear gas shells when a mob pelted them with stones during the funeral procession of the two victims — Rambabu and Dharamvir Shaw even as prohibitory orders under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) remained in force in the area.
Appealing for peace, governor Keshari Nath Tripathi said, “I have condemned the violence. Everyone should make positive contribution to restoring peace.”
The ruling Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) blamed each other for the clash, which is seen as an attempt to establish dominance in Bhatpara, an industrial area about 34 km from Kolkata that comes under the Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency.
Of the 11 injured, six were police personnel who suffered injuries while trying to contain the violence, director general of police Virendra had said, after visiting the spot on Thursday.
A three-member BJP parliamentary delegation, led by lawmaker S S Ahluwalia and consisting of two other MPs, Satyapal Singh and B D Ram — both of whom are retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officers — are expected to visit the area on Saturday.
BJP national president and Union home minister Amit Shah was pained by the death of two persons in Bhatpara, said a statement released by the party on Friday. “The delegation will arrive in the area around 12 noon [on Saturday],” said Arjun Singh, BJP member of Parliament from Barrackpore.
On Friday morning, Singh and his supporters staged a demonstration in front of the Barrackpore police headquarters, where a new commissioner took charge.
The state government removed Barrackpore commissioner Tanmay Ray Chaudhuri and appointed Manoj Kumar Verma, who was the inspector general of police in Darjeeling.
“If the new commissioner [Verma] nabs criminals, we will salute him. Else he will face agitation,” Singh added.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sujan Chakraborty urged chief minister Mamata Banerjee to convene an all-party meeting to discuss the situation in Bhatpara-Kankinara area and find a solution to it. “She should realise that she has failed in managing the situation,” said Chakraborty.
Bhatpara has been witnessing intermittent clashes since the last phase of the Lok Sabha elections on May 19.
The area turned restive after four-time Trinamool Congress legislator Arjun Singh switched over to the Bharatiya Janata Party before the polls and defeated the ruling party candidate in the Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency.
In a meeting with the chief secretary, home secretary and senior police officers, chief minister set a 72-hour deadline to restore normalcy in Bhatpara, officials said.
Asked whether the deaths were because of police firing, as alleged by the locals, the DGP had said on Thursday, “The cause of the deaths is under investigation. Police fired in the air.”
“Some anti-socials and criminals have been active in Bhatpara. Outside elements have now joined them, disrupting peace in the area. RAF [Rapid Action Force] personnel have been deployed,” he had said.
(With PTI inputs)