A three-member delegation of the Bharatiya Janata Party will visit the conflict-ridden Bhatpara area in West Bengal on Saturday after two people were killed and several others injured in clashes between two groups. BJP National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya announced that the team will be led by party leader SS Ahluwalia, PTI reported.
“He will be accompanied by MP Satyapal Singh and BD Ram,” Vijayvargia said. “Other state leaders will also accompany them.” The team is reportedly going to submit a report to party president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, according to PTI.
The clashes broke out hours before the state police chief was supposed to inaugurate a newly constructed police station. A police officer on Friday said that 16 people were arrested in connection with the violence. Section 144 has of the Code of Criminal Procedure has been imposed in Bhatpara and a few surrounding areas to further escalation. Governor KN Tripathi called for peace in the state.
The saffron party’s leadership in New Delhi has accused the state police of acting as “TMC cadres” and demanded that the Central Bureau of Investigation should take over the inquiry into the Bhatpara firing episode on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the BJP organised marches and gheraoed the Barrackpore Police Commissionerate in protest against the incident. The saffron party has called for a state-wide protest against the killings.
The BJP also took out a protest in Kolkata on Friday evening to protest against the alleged police apathy in Bhatpara. “How can peace be restored if the police force is not neutral?,” NDTV quoted BJP MP Arjun Singh as saying. “The police have to fulfil their obligation of neutrality and arrest criminals, whoever they are. People here are poor, and they live in constant fear of the police.”
BJP state president Dilip Ghosh wondered if the Mamata Banerjee-led government was even interested in restoring peace in the area. “Or they just want it to linger till the next Assembly polls,” PTI quoted him as saying. “How can a state government be so insensitive while dealing with their subjects?”
Shops and markets were closed in Bhatpara and Jagaddal areas on Friday. Internet services have been temporarily suspended.
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.