West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi visited Asansol in Paschim Bardhaman district on Saturday to assess the situation in the violence-hit region, NDTV reported. His visit comes days after the state government asked him not to travel to Asansol as the situation was still tense.
The Asansol-Raniganj area has been tense since clashes broke out on Monday during Ram Navami celebrations.
Tripathi held a meeting with officials of the local administration. He will also visit the affected areas in Asansol and Raniganj. He may also visit injured policemen in Durgapur. However, he will not get to meet Deputy Commissioner of Police Arindam Dutta Chowdhury, whose hand was almost blown off in a bomb attack in Raniganj on Monday, as the officer has reportedly been shifted to Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu for treatment.
Prohibitory orders are still in force in Asansol and internet services will remain suspended till April 4, the Business Standard quoted Sub-Divisional Officer P Roychowdhury as saying. Shops and markets in the southern parts of Asansol opened on Friday, and vehicles started plying, the officer added.
No fresh incidents of violence were reported on Friday as the police patrolled the area, The Indian Express reported. “The situation is under control,” Police Commissioner LN Meena said. “We are using loudspeakers to spread awareness against rumours. In sensitive areas, there is a heavy deployment of police personnel. Over 60 people have been arrested.”
BJP vs Trinamool Congress
Meanwhile, the war of words between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Trinamool Congress continued. “The BJP is trying to fuel tension by bringing in leaders and MPs from outside,” Asansol Mayor Jitendra Tiwari said. “Everything is getting back to normal slowly. But it will take some time.”
A few refugee camps that the BJP set up were abandoned on Friday as a few people tried to return home and others left to stay with friends and relatives. “A majority is scared and has left Asansol,” BJP district chief Laksman Gorui said. “Since police are conducting raids on us and our followers are being arrested, many prefer to hide. There is no help from the administration.”
Although an imam in a mosque in Asansol, who lost his son in the Ram Navami violence, warned the congregation that he would leave if anyone retaliated for this son’s death, Muslims are angry with BJP leader and Asansol MP Babul Supriyo, who has alleged that police inaction led to the violence. The police on Thursday booked Supriyo for violating prohibitory orders and assaulting an officer.
“The MP comes to see only a particular community,” Mohammed Imran, a local resident, told The Indian Express. “He makes inflammatory statements against us, which is shown live on TV channels. Is he not our MP? We cannot leave our houses.”
A number of Hindus, mostly from the large Hindi-speaking population of migrants from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh who settled in Asansol generations ago, also said they feared more violence.
The BJP has set up a four-member committee that will visit Asansol on Sunday. The panel comprises of the party’s National Vice President Om Mathur, Spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain and MPs Roopa Ganguly and BD Ram. They will submit their report to BJP National President Amit Shah.