The West Bengal Police on Tuesday said that they have arrested a man who was seen brandishing a gun during a Ram Navami procession in Howrah last week, reported NDTV.
The man has been identified as Sumit Shaw, a resident of Salkia in Howrah district, the police said. He had been absconding since the incident.
The Ram Navami procession was held in Howrah on March 30 when clashes had erupted between Hindus and Muslims in several parts of the district. Videos on social media showed men throwing stones and tearing down shops as the police tried to bring the situation under control.
A day later, a fresh flare-up was reported in the district’s Shibpur area, where a mob went on a rampage, throwing stones and attacking shops as well as vehicles.
The ruling Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party have blamed each other for the violence.
A day after the violence, Trinamool Congress National General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee had posted a video on Twitter showing a man – now identified as Shaw – brandishing a country-made gun during a Ram Navami procession organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. The BJP had denied the video was from the rally.
On Tuesday, the West Bengal Police said that Shaw was arrested from Bihar’s Munger district, where he had been hiding in the home of one of his relatives, reported The Indian Express.
The Trinamool Congress claimed that Shaw’s arrest has exposed the lies of the BJP and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
“The man who was seen with a weapon and about whom the BJP had been in denial mode has now been arrested,” party leader Kunal Ghosh said. “It is clear that the BJP is bringing hooligans from Munger to Bengal for creating a disturbance.”
The BJP, however, alleged that the arrest was an attempt by the ruling government to malign the saffron party, according to the newspaper.
“Who can confirm his [Sumit Shaw’s] political affiliation?” BJP leader Sajal Ghosh asked. “There is also a possibility that the TMC had planted him to malign the BJP. If the police are so competent that they identified and arrested this man from Munger why did they fail to stop him from participating in the rally itself?”