West Bengal violence: Mob attacks train; over 100 arrested
Fresh violence erupted in pockets of West Bengal on Sunday as protesters continued to stage demonstrations and also attacked and damaged a local train, over recent comments by BJP leaders against Prophet Mohammed.
Fresh violence erupted in pockets of West Bengal on Sunday as protesters continued to stage demonstrations and also attacked and damaged a local train, over recent comments by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders against Prophet Mohammed.
More than 100 people from across the state have been arrested so far in connection with the violence which broke out on Friday, police said.
In Nadia district, a group of protesters who took out a procession at Bethuadahari, pelted stones and damaged a train at a local railway station.
Eklavya Chakraborty, chief public relations officer of Eastern Railway, said a few people were injured in the incident. “Train services had to be stopped after stones were pelted at Ranaghat-Lalgola passenger train in Bethuadahari station. A few people, including a journalist, were injured. The down Hazarduari Express had to be stopped at Dhubulia station in view of the violence,” Chakraborty said.
“Efforts are being made to resume train services,” he added.
Nadia police did not comment on the attack and violence. However, a local police officer on condition of anonymity said the protesters also damaged a number of shops during stone pelting.
“Trouble began after a group of around 200 people, who took out a procession in Bethuadahari, alleged that objectionable remarks were passed at them by some local people. They pelted stones that damaged a number of shops,” the officer said.
Trouble was also reported from Haringhata of the district as a large crowd broke through police barricades when a similar procession was stopped, police said.
Incidents of arson and attack on some houses were reported at Shaktipur in Murshidabad district where internet services remained suspended in some areas since Friday, when protesters pelted stones at Beldanga police station. The officer-in-charge, Sandipan Chatterjee, was replaced by Jamaluddin Mondal – who was transferred from New Town police station near Kolkata – on Sunday.
At Deganga in North 24 Parganas district, Taki Road remained blocked for more than two hours after protesters clashed with police.
No fresh incident was reported in Howrah, which witnessed widespread violence on Friday. Internet services has been suspended in the entire district and section 144 of CrPC, which prohibits the gathering of four or more people, has also been imposed till June 15.
“Fifty people have been arrested till Sunday. We have registered a first information report (FIR) for each of the incidents that were reported. Police are patrolling every area,” district’s new superintendent of police, Praveen Tripathi, said.
In a tweet, the state police said that more than 100 people have been arrested so far.
“West Bengal police has arrested more than 100 persons in specific criminal cases registered under stringent sections of law for road blockade, rioting, arson damage to public property and spreading communal hatred. Nobody who indulges in any of these crimes will be spared,” police tweeted.
State BJP leaders led by state president Sukanta Majumdar started a sit-in demonstration near Gandhi statue at Maidan in Kolkata.
“Our peaceful protest will continue for 72 hours against the state government’s inability to tackle the violence. Why is chief minister Mamata Banerjee not calling paramilitary forces?” Majumdar said.
Leader of opposition in state assembly Suvendu Adhikari was prevented by police from visiting the violence-hit areas in Howrah.
“This is a violation of my fundamental rights,” Adhikari said, adding that he will move Calcutta high court on Monday. He eventually came to Kolkata and joined the sit-in demonstration at Maidan later in the day.
Trinamool Congress (TMC) state general secretary Kunal Ghosh said the BJP’s protest near Gandhi statue is “a drama to hog the limelight.”
“BJP leaders are trying to outdo each other to get media coverage,” he added.
Md Yahiya, chairman of Bengal Imams Association, appealed to chief minister Mamata Banerjee not to allow any more protest meetings and processions. Appealing to members of the Muslim community in a video message, Yahiya said: “You are resorting to arson and violence in the name of protecting the honour of the Prophet. This is unacceptable. Is the Prophet’s name being honoured when police are raiding your homes for your acts and arresting you? These protests must stop immediately. There is no need for it.”