The West Bengal Police have detained at least 37 people for clashes in Telinipara area of Hooghly district, PTI reported on Monday. The fight began because people belonging to one community allegedly addressed a group of people as “corona” since one of them had tested positive for Covid-19 recently.
“Some people were addressed as ‘corona’,” Chandannagar Police Commissioner Humayun Kabir said. “And it all started from there. After a verbal spat, one group blocked another from entering a community bathroom in the Victoria Jute Mills area of Telinipara, which led to a fight.”
“Bombs were hurled and shops were ransacked on Sunday evening, Kabir said, adding that a huge team of police was sent there to control the situation. The police baton-charged people and fired 26 rounds of tear gas and ten rounds of rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.
“We continued raids throughout the night and detained 37 people. Our raids are still on,” Kabir added. One person was injured and taken to a hospital for treatment.
The West Bengal Home Department on Monday said the situation had been normalised. “Last evening swift and strong action was taken in Telinipara against those who were trying to disturb peace,” the department tweeted. “The situation was immediately brought under control. Telinipara is peaceful now. Police will not allow any provocation and strict action will be taken against anyone who tries to create disturbance including those who are posting and circulating false information.”
The West Bengal unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party claimed the incident occurred because Covid-19 guidelines were being flouted in the state, according to The Hindu.
“Horrific visuals from Telinipara in Hooghly where people from a “certain” community turned violent last night,” the BJP said. “In West Bengal, under Mamata Banerjee, ‘vote bank’ patronised by TMC has held the state to ransom, flouted Covid-19 guidelines at will without any fear of law!”
On Sunday, clashes were also reported in Malda district after resident of two villages in Harishchandrapur block got into a fight, The Indian Express reported. After 12 people from Manikpur village tested positive for the coronavirus, residents of nearby Chandipur reportedly sealed their village will bamboo fences.
Since Manikpur relies on Chandipur for essentials, the residents got into an argument on Sunday morning. By that night, some people from Manikpur reportedly broke into Chandipur, attacked residents and ransacked their homes. The police said six people were arrested in connection with this incident and prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was imposed.
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar expressed concern about the incident.