Three persons have died and several others have been injured over the past two days in clashes over Ram Navami celebrations in West Bengal. The incidents took place in Raniganj in Paschim Bardhaman district, Kankinara in North 24 Parganas district and Beldi in Purulia district. Clashes also took place in Murshidabad district.
The latest incident took place in Raniganj town on Monday when a Ram Navami procession was passing through the neighbourhood of Rajabandh.
One person died in the clash and more than 30 people, including six police officials, were injured. Nineteen people have been arrested so far. Seven of them were remanded to police custody by a local court for seven days and 12 were sent to jail for 14 days.
Stones and bombs
“The situation turned violent following a heated exchange of words between the two communities when one of them objected to the music being played by the participants in the rally. They pelted stones and hurled bombs at each other,” a resident of Raniganj told The Hindu .
He also said that a section of the mob attacked the police and hurled stones and bombs at them. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Headquarters) of the Asansol-Durgapur Police Comisssionarate, Arindam Dutta Chpwdhury, suffered serious injuries on his hand in a blast. Five other policemen were also injured in the clash. At least 40 shops were vandalised.
But another resident said: “Clashes started when the participants in the rally made provocative remarks against members of another community.”
“One person, Mahesh Mandal, 55, was killed in a clash between two groups during a Ram Navami rally in Raniganj on Sunday,” a senior district official told The Hindu . Locals said that Mr. Mondal, a rickshaw puller, was killed by a mob when he was passing through the area.
“Mr. Mondal had nothing to do with the clashes,” locals said.
“Section 144 has been imposed in the area and a large police contingent has been deployed. The situation is under control now,” Proloy Roychowdhury , Sub-Divisional Officer of Asansol, told The Hindu .
Union Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises and Bharatiya Janata Party Member of Parliament Babul Supriyo made a series of posts on Twitter regarding the clashes in Raniganj.
The Union Minister also posted several photos detailing the clashes between the two communities.