Shah seeks report on violence in Bengal since Ram Navami


Union Home Minister Amit Shah today sought an urgent report from the West Bengal Chief Secretary on the continuing violence following attacks on Ram Navami processions in the state. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC are in force in several places in the state. Governor CV Ananda Bose, who was in Darjeeling in North Bengal for a G20 meeting, cut short his visit and rushed to Rishra in Hooghly district, which saw violence on Sunday and Monday.
One hundred and fifty km away, in Khejuri in Purba Medinipur district, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said: “Violence is not Bengal’s culture. The BJP has brought in hired ‘goondas’ from outside. This is not communal violence; this is criminal violence. You saw the video of this young man dancing with a firearm.”
Trinamool general secretary and Mamata Banerjee’s nephew, Abhishek Banerjee, tweeted a video of a young man with a gun in the Ram Navami procession in Howra’s Shibpur area and accused the BJP of engineering the violence for political gains.
Sumit Shaw, the man who was seen brandishing a firearm in a Ram Navami procession on March 30, was arrested from Monghyr in Bihar, following which the Trinamul Congress lost no time in claiming that the state BJP leadership was bringing in arms and criminals from neighbouring states to foment trouble. “The state BJP leaders want to create a situation to claim that law and order have broken down in West Bengal and seek central intervention. It is possible that they might be acting on the instructions of some central leaders sitting in Delhi,” alleged Kunal Ghosh, TMC general secretary and chief spokesperson. He demanded that the police should arrest the BJP leaders who were behind the violence and the gunrunning.
During his visit to Rishra, Governor CV Ananda Bose spoke to people on the streets and later told reporters, “Jio aur jeene do. There will be solid action by all enforcement agencies. We will never allow the miscreants, the hooligans, and the goons to take the law into their own hands; the police will come down heavily on them. Bengal has been suffering for a long time; we will put an end to mobocracy.”
The BJP, meanwhile, continued to allege that the Mamata Banerjee government was trying to malign Hindus to woo her dwindling Muslim votebank. BJP State President Sukanta Majumdar was prevented from reaching Rishra and adjoining Serampore for the second successive day. The state police also dismantled a stage set up for a protest by Majumdar in Serampore, citing the law and order situation. Majumdar also wrote to Home Minister Amit Shah for the second successive day and condemned the “partisan role” played by the police and specifically named Director-General of Police Manoj Malaviya for curtailing “democratic rights”.
In the evening, Sukanta Majumdar led a BJP delegation to Raj Bhavan to meet the governor, while the BJP’s leader of the opposition in the state assembly, Suvendu Adhikari, criticised the governor and accused him of being soft on the TMC.