KOLKATA: Communal strife-torn Basirhat town and neighbouring villages in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal remained tense on Thursday as a BJP worker succumbed to injuries inflicted during clashes on Wednesday. However, no fresh violence was reported on Thursday.
BJP worker Kartik Ghosh, 60, who sustained serious injuries on this neck during a violent clash between residents of Tyatra and Paikpara villages, 3 km from Basirhat town, on Wednesday, breathed his last at R G Kar Medical College here on Thursday. At least eight others seriously injured in the violent clashes between two communities since Monday are being treated at various hospitals in Kolkata.
On the other hand, police made 51 arrests in the past two days. “Thirty nine people were arrested on Wednesday and produced in the court on Thursday. We have got their police custody while 12 fresh arrests were made on Thursday,” an official at Basirhat Police Station told The New Indian Express.
However, relatives of those arrested claimed that arrests were made arbitrarily. “My son Salim Mondal of Madhyampur village was picked up while on the way to the market,” said Sakira Bibi. Another woman claimed that her son was returning home from work at Bangladesh border. “My son Safiqul Mollah of Amtala village drives export trucks laden which stone chips from India to Bangladesh. He was returning home from the border. Police asked him to show the way to a nearby village and brought him directly to the police station,” said Marjina Bibi.
Meanwhile, under the directive of BJP president Amit Shah, the ruling party at the Centre has formed a three-member representative committee of MPs Om Prakash Mathur, Meenakshi Lekhi and Satyapal Singh to visit strife-torn Basirhat. “The three-member MP team would visit Basirhat on July 9. But before that, a state BJP team led by MP Roopa Ganguly will visit the house of our BJP worker who has died in the violence,” state BJP secretary Sayantan Basu told The New Indian Express.
Asked about probabilities of police stopping them from visiting the riot-torn region, the state BJP secretary said, “Police may try to stop us but we will go ahead with our visit to Basirhat tomorrow.”
Responding to West Bengal Mamata Banerjee’s allegations of BJP’s hand behind communal violence in North 24 Parganas district, BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said in a press conference on Thursday:“When the situation in the hills went out of control, Mamata Banerjee saw ‘foreign hand’. Now, when she is unable to handle the rising incidents of communal violence throughout West Bengal, she is seeing BJP’s hand behind them.”
To Mamata Banerjee’s proposal to form peace committees to subside the violence, Ghosh said: “Such proposals are in her imagination only. Her baseless comments are instilling more fear in the minds of the people. TMC is trying to increase its influence among the riot-affected people through these proposed peace committees.” He also alleged that 400 BSF jawans deployed in the region were not being used for patrolling inside the villages and were only being used to conduct route marches along the main roads.