The Bharatiya Janata Party observed a “black day” in West Bengal on Monday to protest the alleged killing of its workers on Saturday. The saffron party workers sported black badges as they organised rallies across the state.
The party also declared a 12-hour bandh in Basirhat on Monday. During the bandh, the BJP workers squatted on roads and railway tracks at many places. The administration suspended internet services in Basirhat and surrounding areas. Police personnel were deployed in the area to avoid any untoward incident.
West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, who had expressed concern over the violence, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday. “My visit to the Prime Minister and the Home Minister was a courtesy call,” ANI quoted Tripathi as saying. “I just informed them of the general situation in the state.”
On Saturday, a Trinamool Congress worker and two leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party were killed in Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas district, reports said. However, the BJP claimed that five of its workers were killed, while Trinamool said it feared six of its workers were dead. On Sunday, Bharatiya Janata Party leaders faced off with the state police during the funeral of two party workers who were killed, the Hindustan Times reported.
On Sunday, the West Bengal government told the Centre that the situation in the state was under control and that action had been initiated in all recent cases of violence, PTI reported. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs had sought a report from the state government on the violence.
“There have been a few stray post-poll clashes in the state perpetrated by some anti-social elements, the law enforcement authorities have been taking firm and appropriate actions in all such cases without any delay,” Chief Secretary Malay Kumar De wrote in a letter to the ministry. The chief secretary said the incidents of violence may not be construed as a failure of the law enforcement machinery.
In its advisory earlier in the day, the Centre had expressed “deep concern” over the violence and had asked the state government to maintain law and order, peace and public tranquillity. “The unabated violence over the past weeks appears to be a failure on the part of the law enforcement machinery of the state to maintain the rule of law and inspire confidence among people,” the Centre had said.
The Centre also asked the state government to identify and punish “delinquent” officers. In the state government’s reply, the chief secretary said there had been no delinquency in discharge of functions by public officials.
The state’s ruling Trinamool Congress said that the “so-called advisory” is “nothing but a political conspiracy” and that it would “respond appropriately”, The Indian Express reported.
Trinamool Congress leader Partha Chatterjee described the Centre’s advisory as a conspiracy against the state government. “You are using the Home Ministry in an undemocratic manner to issue this advisory to the state government,” he said.
Chatterjee also called West Bengal “the most peaceful state in the country”, and said there had been “no incident of any political bloodshed” there. He asked why an advisory note was not sent to the Uttar Pradesh government when incidents of violence were reported from there.
Trinamool Congress leader Tapas Roy said that any specific complaint against the police would be looked into.