KOLKATA: Union Minister Babul Supriyo and a senior West Bengal BJP leader were today stopped by police from entering the Asansol-Raniganj area, where the situation continued to remain tense after violence erupted over a Ram Navami procession.
Internet services were suspended and prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC were clamped in the area, following clashes between two groups on Sunday and Monday over a Ram Navami rally at Raniganj.
However, no fresh incident of violence was reported from the area since last night, police said.
Supriyo, the Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises and MP from Asansol, tried to enter the Railpar area in Paschim Bardhaman district, where police stopped his car, citing security reasons.
Reportedly, a group of people shouted slogans against the minister and demanded that he immediately leave the area.
West Bengal BJP Mahila Morcha president Locket Chatterjee, who was en route to Raniganj, was also stopped by police at Durgapur.
In protest, the actress-turned-politician staged a sit-in.
Supriyo claimed that only the deployment of central forces can bring back peace in the area as locals don not have faith in the police.
News channels showed him engaged in a verbal duel with police personnel, who had surrounded his vehicle.
"As a public representative I have every right to visit my constituency, especially when people are in trouble. It is my duty. But the police is saying I won't be allowed to go as Section 144 is imposed in the area. Being a minister, I cannot violate rules," Supriyo said.
He said that he would inform Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh about the incident.
The minister, earlier this week, had blamed inaction on part of the police for Sunday's violence over Ram Navami celebrations in Raniganj, neighbouring Asansol.
Reacting to both the incidents, West Bengal Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee alleged that the BJP was trying destroy the communal peace and harmony in the state.
"When the police is patrolling the area why do they want to visit Raniganj? Are they not satisfied after unleashing violence for the last two days," he said.
Senior TMC leader and Mayor of Asansol Municipal Corporation, Jitendra Tiwari, accused Supriyo of trying to disturb peace in the area.
A senior district police official said a huge contingent of the police and the Rapid Action Force (RAF) is patrolling the area.
"There have been no fresh incidents of violence, although Section 144 is still imposed in the area," he said, adding, the situation is still tense.
One person was killed and two police officers were injured in the violence on Sunday and Monday.
Senior IPS officers Jawed Shamim, Siddhinath Gupta and Vineet Goyal have been deputed on special duty to bring the situation under control.
Governor K N Tripathi has also been advised not to visit Durgapur to see a police officer injured in the violence in Raniganj in view of deployment of police in the area, an official release said yesterday.