The situation in Bhatpara in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district remained tense on Friday, a day after two people were killed in clashes between two groups, PTI reported. Prohibitory orders remained in place and a large number of policemen were deployed in the area.
An unidentified police officer said 16 people were arrested in connection with the violence. The clashes broke out hours before the state police chief was supposed to inaugurate a newly constructed police station. Governor KN Tripathi called for peace in the state. “Not only in Bhatpara but in the entire state, there is a need to keep peace.”
Shops and markets were closed in Bhatpara and Jagaddal. Internet services have been temporarily suspended.
Director General of Police Virendra said 11 people, including six police personnel, were injured in the violence. Asked if the deaths were caused by police firing, as alleged by locals, Virendra said: “The cause of the deaths is under investigation. Police fired in the air.”
The police chief claimed criminals were active in Bhatpara. “Outside elements have now joined them, disrupting peace in the are,” the police chief said. “RAF [Rapid Action Force] personnel have been deployed.”
Home Secretary Alapan Bandhyopadhyay on Thursday said the state government has requested citizens to resist making inflammatory statements. “We request all to cooperate and not be provoked by exciting propaganda from any side,” he added.
The Bharatiya Janata Party accused the state administration of acting as “Trinamool Congress cadres” and its National Secretary Rahul Sinha demanded an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the violence.
The ruling Trinamool Congress and the BJP blamed each other for the clash. The clashes are being viewed as an attempt to establish dominance in Bhatpara, which falls under the Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency, PTI reported.
Bhatpara has witnessed a series of clashes since May 19 when Assembly bye-elections were held. The fight has intensified ever since Arjun Singh crossed over to the BJP from the Trinamool Congress, PTI reported. Singh won the Barrackpore Lok Sabha seat, defeating Trinamool Congress’s Dinesh Trivedi.In the by-elections, Singh’s son Pawan Singh defeated Trinamool Congress candidate and former state minister Madan Mitra.