In Basirhat, Trinamool Congress offices were either locked, or vandalised
Local Trinamool Congress leaders cannot be seen in the area, say locals.
In trouble-torn Basirhat all Trinamool Congress offices are either locked or vandalised even as tension was palpable beyond a peaceful surface on Friday.
In areas such as Bibipur, Harishpur, Bhyabla, Bodhotola, Mailakhali, ruling party offices were found either vandalised or locked. Local Trinamool leaders were nowhere to be seen in the entire area.
“You will not find any Trinamool party office in this entire area which is open. Ruling party leaders also seem to have vanished from Basirhat,” said Somnath Chatterjee, neighbour of Kartik Ghosh, the only person to be killed so far. Ghosh was attacked with sharp weapons on Wednesday by a mob when he was returning from the market.
Chatterjee pointed out that ruling party leaders became a target of the angry locals after local MLA Dipendu Biswas took police around the Hindu-dominated area to find out whether weapons were stored.
Around 5:30 pm on Thursday irate crowds descended on Trinamool MLA Biswas’s house near Bodhotola and vandalised it. The MLA was then at the local police station. The local party office was also ransacked.
At Bodhotola, the house of Tapas Sarkar, the chairman of Basirhat Municipality and a prominent face of the ruling party, was also not spared. The house of Sudeb Saha, vice chairman of the municipality, was also attacked. Neither Sarkar nor Saha was seen in the area since the attacks.
Clashes erupted in parts of Basirhat subdivision after a mob started vandalising and set fire to shops, houses and police vehicles on Sunday and Monday after a class 11 student post blasphemous material on Facebook.
The anger against the ruling party was evident even on Friday afternoon. As this correspondent moved around Basirhat subdivision, irate locals stopped the vehicle and shouted abuses against the ruling party. Ruma Pal and Bithika Biswas, two homemakers of Chapapukur said that the chief minister should visit the affected areas too see the condition they are living in.
The streets were almost empty as vehicles went off the road. Only a handful of shops opened for business. Banks, post office, educational institutions were all closed.
Many said they lost confidence on the police. “Why are they asking us to stay indoors? We are not the trouble makers,” said a resident of Harishpur.
The attacks on ruling party offices took place against a backdrop of overwhelming dominance by Mamata Banerjee’s party in the entire district. Only last year, popular footballer Dipendu Biswas won by a margin of more than 20,000 votes in Basirhat South constituency. Trinamool also had an iron grip on the North 24 Parganas district where the party won 27 of the 33 Assembly seats in the 2016 elections.
Prohibitory orders were enforced in the area. Internet services were banned for the third consecutive day.