As Hooghly simmers, Mamata appeals to 'Hindu brothers' to protect minorities

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 4/4/2023 10:15:25 AM

KOLKATA, Apr 03: Bengal's Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday appealed for peace and asked “Hindu brothers” to ensure that minorities are protected, as prohibitory orders remained in force after post-Ram Navami violence in two towns of the densely populate Hooghly district.
Banerjee, who was speaking at a rally at Khejuri in East Mednipur, questioned why processions were continuing to be staged days after the festival of Ram Navami, dedicated to Lord Ram, and claimed there was a deliberate attempt at “inciting violence and create tension”, a PTI report said.
“Why will the processions continue for five days after Ram Navami? Do it on the day of the festival. We have never had objections. But they cannot do rallies with guns and bombs, or without necessary permissions from the police,” the firebrand chief minister asserted.
“They are deliberately entering minority areas to incite violence and create tension,” she claimed without naming anyone.
“They (the goons) are setting fire to food carts of poor vendors and dancing with guns... On April 6 (Hanuman Jayanti), they are planning to do another round of violence. I have asked the DMs and the police to be alert. Not just Bengal, they have created this scenario throughout the country,” the chief minister claimed.
She added that she was “appealing to my Hindu brothers to make sure that no violence takes place against minorities. No one wants these cases of atrocities and violence.”
The situation in violence-hit towns of Hooghly district remained peaceful and under control, though prohibitory orders and suspension of internet services in some areas continued on Monday and a delegation led by the Bharatiya Janata Party state president was stopped from entering the industrial suburb of Rishra, the police said.
The police said the situation in Rishra and Srerampore areas in Hoogly district would be watched and orders relaxed as the situation improved.
BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar was barred from visiting Rishra by the police citing prohibitory orders in force in the area, which led to strong protests by the right-wing party.
"I am not being allowed to meet my injured party workers. The police are citing the prohibitory orders. The police can at least allow Mahato and me to enter. The police do not want to allow me as they want to hide the truth," Majumdar told reporters.
The BJP leader, who was accompanied by party MP Jyotirmoy Singh Mahato, demanding immediate deployment of central forces, and claimed the "state police has completely failed to control the situation".
A Chandannagore police commissionerate official said a dozen people were arrested for the clashes on Sunday.
"Things are under control and peaceful. Prohibitory orders are in force and there is heavy police deployment. Security forces conducted route marches at some places of the affected area. There was tension in some areas in the morning. We dispersed the crowds and boosted security," he told PTI.
Markets were allowed to open for some time and the police were keeping tabs on the movement of vehicles, he said.
"Hopefully, the situation will further improve ... A decision on revoking prohibitory orders and resumption of internet services will be taken after evaluation," the official added.
Two Ram Navami processions were organised in Rishra police station area and the second one came under attack near Wellington Jute Mill More on GT Road around 6.15 pm on Sunday. The prohibitory orders were imposed in Rishra wards 1-5 and Serampore's ward 24 and internet services suspended in some parts of the district till 10 pm on Monday, the police said.
The state government has pointed out that the processions were organised two days after the actual festival and did not have requisite permissions.
Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari (BJP) has blamed the ruling Trinamool Congress for engineering the attack on the Ram Navami rally organised by the BJP.
Some BJP workers were seen holding a sit-in near the affected area in Rishra and protesting against the stopping of the party's convoy on Monday.
Adhikari, who met BJP MLA Biman Ghosh who was injured in Sunday's violent clash at the hospital, told reporters that he wanted to visit the trouble-torn pocket immediately but was not allowed to by the state administration which clamped the prohibitory order to prevent him from meeting the affected families.
"I wonder why Trinamool Congress MP Kalyan Banerjee and other TMC leaders are allowed free access to the area, while opposition leaders are prevented from meeting the terrified local people and BJP workers," he said.
TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh accused the BJP of fomenting trouble in the area.
"Action is being taken against culprits, irrespective of their political affiliation or religion. The violence was a pre-planned conspiracy by the BJP to disrupt communal harmony and peace in the state. It wants to secure votes at the cost of human lives," he said.



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