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India Raniganj, other parts of Bengal erupt with riots over...

Raniganj, other parts of Bengal erupt with riots over Ram Navami festivities

Several other districts of West Bengal have witnessed riots over the past 24 hours; if the patriotic and devotional songs played on loudspeakers at a Ram Navami procession became a bone of contention in Raniganj, they were different groups carrying sharp implements in Kharagpur and Murshidabad


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Raniganj/Murshidabad: Member of Parliament of the BJP, Babul Supriyo was supposed to lead a Ram Navami procession in this town of West Bengal. The local BJP cadre went ahead with the programme even though the MP did not turn up. When the procession was obstructed at Hill Basti, the war of words that ensued between the BJP cadre and TMC workers led to riots.

The TMC workers objected to the playing of patriotic as well as devotional songs on loudspeakers, which were part of the Ram Navami procession. They insisted on diverting the rally to some other place.

The BJP activists tried to enter the area despite objections by the TMC workers. The rumour of a riot even while there was just a scuffle spread like a wildfire across the town, engulfing Asansol, Durgapur, the whole West Bardhaman district and beyond.

Taking advantage of the tense atmosphere, a bunch of rioters set shops on either side of the road where the BJP procession was stopped on fire. The rioters pelted stones at the houses in the neighbourhood.

Regular police and the Rapid Action Force (riot police) were deployed in the town soon thereafter. The sight of the police provoked the rioters further, as they directed their fury at the men in uniform.

While the rioters were hurling stones at the policemen, a bomb was hurled at DC (Headquarters) Arindam Dutta Chowdhury. Perhaps believing it was another stone hurled at the force he was leading, Chowdhury tried to grab the projectile. The bomb blew up his right hand.

A Twitter user posted these disturbing pictures on the micro-blogging site, which Babul Supriyo retweeted:

If the other pictures of rioters posted by the user are a true depiction of the incident in Raniganj, the rioters do not seem to be members of the BJP or RSS.

The BJP MP blamed the Mamata Banerjee government squarely for the incident.

Several policemen including an OC have been injured in the Raniganj riots. They are being treated at a hospital in Durgapur.

Babul Supriyo visited the affected area later, as did mayor Jeetendra Tiwari.

Some members of the Ram Navami Udjapan Committee passing through an area of Kandi, Murshidabad

Kandi of the district of Murshidabad witnessed riots on Monday, too. A group called Ram Navami Udjapan Committee took out a procession carrying swords and axes. The police in the area stopped them on the way.

The police took recourse to lathi charge to disperse the activists. That led to a brawl where the activists entered a local police station and ransacked it while others hurled stones at the cops.

Monday also saw an FIR lodged against BJP’s Locket Chatterjee in the Rampurhat area of the Birbhum district. She has been charged with carrying a ‘dangerous weapon’ (trishul or trident) while participating in a Ram Navami procession.

Chatterjee said in her defence, “I was carrying a symbol of Ma Durga. It was a mere symbol of destruction of evil forces. The way the Mamata government is coming down heavily on all signs of Hinduism, you may soon see that the trishul has disappeared from all idols of Goddess Durga!”

In Kharagpur of the West Medinipur district, an FIR was lodged against the West Bengal unit chief of the BJP, Dilip Ghosh, and an unidentified Sikh man — on the basis of a video that landed with the police via WhatsApp. “We have found some footage. On the basis of the video, we have registered a complaint against Dilip Ghosh and a Punjabi (Bengali word implying a Sikh),” said the superintendent of police of the district, Alok Rajoria.

Ghosh was allegedly distributing gadas (maces) among members of different akhadas (congregations of hermits).

Sirf News reported yesterday the death of a person during Hindu-Muslim clashes in Purulia.

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