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Tension in Kolkata as Bengal govt deals with minor communal clashes

Kolkata Alampur, a locality in Metiabruz area, on the outskirts of Kolkata, has been under Section 144 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) since January 23 evening.

kolkata Updated: Jan 26, 2017 00:01 IST
Ravik Bhattacharya
Ravik Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times
Kolkata communal tensions,West Bengal,Bengal govt
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee talks to media in Kolkata.(PTI File Photo)

Alampur, a locality in Metiabruz area on the outskirts of Kolkata, has been under Section 144 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) since January 23 evening.

According to the city police, “unlawful assembly” of more than four people is restricted as a few members of a community erected road blocks in the area, leading to tension between two groups.

For the past few months, small communal clashes have become a major headache for the Bengal government. The flare-ups started last October and since then have been taking place in different parts of the state — Kaliachak, Chanchol (Malda district), Jalangi (Murshidabad), Chandannagar (Hooghly), Bhagabanpur (East Midnapore), Gol Bazar (West Midnapore), Kanchrapara (North 24 Parganas), Dhulagarh (Howrah), and Kaksha (Burdwan), to name a few.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has been emphasising the need for communal harmony. Trinamool Congress leaders have dubbed the incidents as an outcome of a “pattern” and have asked the administration to contain the incidents. “Our CM has already stated that communal harmony, which is our tradition, will be maintained at any cost. Those who are conspiring against the people of Bengal, from spreading rumours to spreading communal tension will fail,” said a senior Trinamool Congress MP.

Police force, including Rapid Action Force was deployed, Section 144 was imposed in these areas and several miscreants were arrested in each incident.

Of these, Dhulagarh grabbed most attention in December-end, with the BJP, Congress and CPI(M) sending out their leaders to the epicentre. General secretary Sitaram Yechury himself was part of the team.

So far, the state government has been silent about the problem but state BJP leaders have appealed to governor Kesari Nath Tripathi and demanded Centre’s intervention. “On the one hand, the CM is dubbing these incidents as minor, on the other hand, the police officers are being transferred. After the Dhulagarh incident, the police superintendent was removed. Low-intensity attacks on a community are going on in different parts of the state. In Kaliachak, a police station was vandalised and everyone knows how. Metiabruz is the latest in the series and the administration has failed to control it,” said Sayantan Basu, state BJP secretary

First Published: Jan 26, 2017 00:00 IST