Dhulagarh: Communal riots broke out between Hindus and Muslims in Dhulagarh area on 13 December, about 28 km from West Bengal capital Kolkata. In the night of the 12th, there were reports of serious clashes between Hindus and Muslims after the celebrations of Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi, which involved hurling of bombs, rioting and arson.
The Mamata Banerjee government has alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party is trying to add a communal colour to what is nothing more than a gang war. Not only Delhi/NCR-based media but also Bengali language news mediums are silent on the affair. In the meantime, an FIR has been lodged against Zee News and Sudhir Chaudhary by a certain Chiranjit Das — such characters are often proxies for a political party — for fanning communal passions in the region. Therefore, सिर्फ़ News decided to find out the facts by talking to people living in the region.
Locals say that this is not the first time such a thing has happened in this area. In 2004, there were communal riots between the two communities when Muslims blocked a Durga Puja procession, and what happened now is a result of a festering discontent.
After the riots erupted around 11:30 PM on the 12th, people in the Dhulagarh neighbourhood that we spoke to heard sounds of bombs and firearms at a distance. The police were called in to control the riots, but they were incapable, as per reports, of controlling the situation, with a few policemen themselves getting injured in the process.
Most Hindu residents fled the area fearing for their lives.
Another local resident सिर्फ़ News spoke to claimed that the situation remained tense for the next few days with intense RAF patrolling of the area.
A relapse of violence occurred 3 days later when mobs with sticks and weapons were seen terrorising the area. There were also reports of unexploded bombs lying on the roadside, which were later disposed of by the police.
We have added a video shot by an eyewitness to this report, which appears on the left sidebar of our homepage.
[Update on 30 December: 3 more videos of eyewitness accounts have arrived. Readers are requested to look for them on the left sidebar of our homepage]
Mobs also looted houses, jewellery shops and set them on fire before fleeing, our sources said.
People in the Eid procession claim that the disturbance started when they were stopped from using certain routes.
Bengal governor Keshari Nath Tripathi summoned Bengal Director General of Police (DGP) Surajit Kar Purkayastha asking for a report. The Bengal government has removed district Superintendent of Police Sabyasachi Raman Mishra and brought in Sumit Kumar as the new Superintendent of Police, Howrah (rural) district.
सिर्फ़ News does not vouch for the authenticity of claims made by either side in the debate.