Clashes erupted between two groups in West Bengal’s Hooghly district on Sunday evening during a Ram Navami procession organised by the Bharatiya Janata Party, reported The Print.
The clashes took place days after violence had broken out in the neighbouring Howrah district.
In Hooghly, authorities imposed prohibitory orders and suspended internet services after the violence, in which several police personnel were injured, reported PTI..
The clashes broke out around 6 pm in the city’s Rishra area, The Indian Express reported. The police said that two Ram Navami processions were organised in the area, and one of them was targeted near the Wellington Jute Mill More at GT Road.
BJP national vice president Dilip Ghosh was leading the procession when the clashes broke out.
“It was going through the traditional route when a group started throwing stones at it,” an unidentified official told PTI. “We took immediate steps to address the situation.”
Ghosh claimed that the police remained silent spectators for a while before chasing away those who threw the stones. He added that Biman Ghosh was injured in the violence.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure that bans the gathering of four or more persons have been imposed in wards 1-5 of Rishra and Serampore’s ward 24, the police said. Internet services will remain suspended in parts of Rishra and Serampore till 10 pm on Monday.
TMC blames BJP
On the violence, Trinamool Congress spokesperson Joyprakash Majumdar alleged that the BJP wanted to engineer riots in West Bengal and create instability for political benefits, PTI reported.
“Why are they so bent on taking out Ram Navami processions during the holy month of Ramzan,” he asked. “Why was the Ram Navami rally taken out two days later?”
Majumdar alleged that the BJP was creating such a situation in the state so that it could demand President’s rule.
Meanwhile, West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose issued a stern warning to those responsible for the clashes, reported ANI.
“The miscreants, the hooligans, and the thugs will be crushed with an iron hand,” said Bose. “They will be made to curse the day they were born. Mobocracy cannot derail democracy. We are determined, the state is determined to put an end to this arson and looting.”
He added: “The lawbreakers and their abettors will soon realise they are playing with fire. Reinforcement of forces has already rushed to the spot.”
Earlier, violence had been reported in the Howrah district on March 30 and March 31. Clashes on March 30 took place between Hindus and Muslims during a Ram Navami procession. Several vehicles were set ablaze and shops were vandalised by rioters.
On March 31, a mob in the Shibpur area went on a rampage, attacking shops and vehicles.
Last week, communal violence was also reported from several other states including Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh. Most of the clashes had erupted after Ram Navami processions, playing songs on loudspeakers, passed through Muslim-dominated areas in a repeat of similar incident of communal violence last year.