Several people were injured in fresh clashes in Bhatpara area in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal on Saturday, PTI reported. The clashes broke out soon after a Bharatiya Janata Party delegation visited the troubled area.
After the delegation left, workers of the ruling Trinamool Congress and the BJP clashed, hurling country-made bombs and stones at each other. The police had to resort to baton charge to stop the violence.
Barrackpore Police Commissioner Manoj Verma said the situation was under control now. “Police is patrolling the area,” he told ANI. “As Section 144 is imposed here, police have chased away people gathered in a place.We have registered cases and investigation is underway.”
A three-member BJP delegation, led by former Union minister SS Alhuwalia, visited Bhatpara before the clashes began. Barrackpore MP Arjun Singh also accompanied them.
On Thursday, two people were killed in clashes in Bhatpara. The team visited the family members of the deceased. Seven people had also been wounded in the clashes.
The BJP team alleged that the two people were party workers who were killed in the police firing, PTI reported. “We spoke to the family members and locals,” Alhuwahlia said. “We got portions of spent self loading rifle bullets used by the police on Thursday to shoot the BJP workers. The police is saying they fired in the air. If they had done that, how can it hit humans? We will submit our detailed report to party president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. He is concerned with the ongoing violence in the area.”
Both the police and the ruling Trinamool Congress rubbished the allegations. “What is the purpose of their visit?” Trinamool Congress General Secretary Partha Chatterjee asked. “Section 144 has been in force in the area, but the BJP is visiting there. The police should have taken action against them for violating Section 144.” Section 144 prohibits the assembly of four or more persons.
An unidentified police officer said on Friday that 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.
The BJP had 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.
Earlier on Saturday, a joint delegation of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Congress, led by leader of Opposition Abdul Mannan, visited the affected areas and also demanded a CBI inquiry into the deaths.
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 bye-elections, Singh’s son Pawan Singh defeated Trinamool Congress candidate and former state minister Madan Mitra.