West Bengal communal violence: Official says riot-hit Basirhat tense but under control

Kolkata: The situation in riot-hit Basirhat in North 24 Paraganas district showed signs of improvement on Friday with no untoward incident reported, even as the Internet services remained suspended and the police and paramilitary forces intensified their patrol.

A campaign was undertaken by the state administration for the restoration of peace in the troubled areas.

Security personnel continued to march in the riot-hit areas of the district while internet services in and around the area continued to remain suspended, a senior state government official said.

The police inspector in charge of Basirhat, Nasim Akhtar, has been transferred by the administration.

A charred vehicle is seen during the riots in Baduria, West Bengal. PTI

A charred vehicle is seen during the riots in Baduria, West Bengal. PTI

An appeal was made by the state administration to all political parties not to enter the affected areas where prohibitory orders are in force.

The West Bengal government said the situation was under control in Baduria, Swarupnagar, Deganga and Basirhat, which had witnessed violence.

Locals chose to stay indoors with shops, markets and schools remaining closed and the transportation badly hit.

In New Delhi, Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu described the communal violence in Basirhat as "unfortunate" and requested the state government to take effective steps to protect all people - "whether minority or majority".

Ignoring Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's appeal, BJP, Left and Congress delegations tried to visit the affected areas in Basirhat, about 80 km from Kolkata, but were stopped by the police.

"The situation is still tense, that is why we have not allowed any political party to go there as it might create problems. We did not want to take any chance so they were stopped from going there (Basirhat)," a senior police officer said.

The BJP delegation, led by MP Roopa Ganguly, which was heading towards the riot-hit Baduria, was detained by police at Michael Nagar near the NSC Bose International airport area, the police said.

When they tried to break the cordon, they were detained by the police.

"We told the BJP leaders that they will not be allowed to go as per the decision of the administration. The situation is still tense. But they were adamant and said either they will court arrest or proceed towards the affected area. So we had to detain them," a senior police officer of Bidhanagar police Commissionerate said.

They were subsequently brought to the nearby airport police station.

Earlier in the day, the police also prevented the Left and Congress leaders from proceeding towards the riot-hit areas citing law and order situation.

"We have been stopped near Ashoknagar area on the grounds that it might create law and order problem. But we were not going there with any political motive. We were going there to meet the people affected in riots," Left Front legislative party leader Sujan Chakraborty said.

The Congress team, led by WBPCC chief Adhir Chowdhury, was also stopped at Barasat citing the same reason.

State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said his party would organise a rally here on Saturday to condemn the role of the state government.

"We will also meet Governor KN Tripathi and demand in writing the imposition of President's Rule in the state," he said.

Clashes broke out between members of two communities at Baduria in the Basirhat sub-division of North 24 Parganas district earlier this week over an "objectionable" Facebook post by a youth.

Updated Date: Jul 07, 2017 20:58 PM

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