Two people were killed and three others injured on Thursday in Bhatpara area of North 24 Paraganas district in West Bengal after clashes broke out between two unidentified groups, reported ABP Ananda. The incident occurred hours before the state police chief was supposed to inaugurate a newly-constructed police station.
One of the deceased has been identified as 17-year-old Rambabu Shaw but the police are yet to establish identities of the injured.
Reports suggest that a crude bomb was hurled and bullets were fired in the air by members of the two groups near the newly-constructed police station. The police had to resort to firing to control the situation, according to the Hindustan Times.
The police chief’s convoy that was headed to the area was turned around, and the inauguration has been put on hold at the moment, NDTV reported. A team of security personnel, including the Rapid Action Force, has been deployed in the area.
Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure has been imposed in Bhatpara and senior police officials have been sent to the spot. “Two people have died, few have been injured. The situation is still tensed”, a senior police officer told The Indian Express. Shops, marketplaces, and businesses have reportedly been closed after the unrest.
The state police chief and the chief secretary are among the top-ranking officials who are conducting an emergency meeting on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s instructions.
Bharatiya Janata Party National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya blamed the ruling Trinamool Congress government and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the clashes. “Mamata Banerjee has lost her mental balance since the Lok Sabha elections,” he said. “Clashes are taking place all over the state. I have got information that two people fell to police bullets.” Vijayvargiya said a BJP delegation will visit Bhatpara and send a report to the Centre.
Barrackpore BJP MP Arjun Singh blamed the police for the deaths. But former Trinamool Congress minister Madan Mitra, who lost the Bhatpara Assembly bye-polls, held Singh and his supporters responsible for the clashes. “Arjun Singh and his followers are indulging in politics of violence,” Mitra said.
The police have refuted allegations saying that they have only used tear gas shells to control the crowd.
Home Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay said that the state administration is looking into the Bhatpara violence very seriously. “Some antisocial elements and outsiders are behind this,” he said. “[The] chief minister and senior police officers have visited the spot in the recent past to take stock of the situation.”
Bhatpara has also witnessed a series of clashes since May 19 when bye-polls were held in the Assembly constituency.
There has been a spate of violence across West Bengal ever since the Lok Sabha election results were declared last month. On May 30, a BJP worker was stabbed to death in Ketugram in East Burdwan district. It came four days after a saffron party worker was was shot dead in the Bhatpara area.