Violence erupts in Howrah over Ram Navami procession

Seven persons injured in the incident, say police; Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says she will give a “befitting reply” to those who indulged in the violence

March 30, 2023 10:11 pm | Updated 10:11 pm IST - Kolkata

Violence erupted in parts of Howrah. Several vehicles were torched.

Violence erupted in parts of Howrah. Several vehicles were torched. | Photo Credit: Debasish Bhaduri

Violence erupted in parts of Howrah district of West Bengal on Thursday over Ram Navami celebrations. Several vehicles were attacked and set on fire in Kazipara area of Howrah. A large police contingent cordoned off the area and the situation remained tense. Video footage from the violence-affected area showed several vehicles on fire. 

The violence allegedly erupted during a Ram Navami procession in the area. The procession from Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden made its way towards Howrah Maidan when violence erupted, police said.

“Seven persons were injured in the violence which unfolded less than a kilometre away from the State Secretariat,” police added. 

Several rallies were organised in Kolkata and other districts on the occasion of Ram Navami. Last year too a flare-up between two groups had erupted in Howrah during the celebrations. 

Hindutva groups have been involved in Ram Navami celebrations in West Bengal over the past few years. Senior State BJP leaders participated in the rallies held across the State on Thursday.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she will give a “befitting reply” to those who indulged in the violence in Howrah. “There was a clear instruction to the police that no procession will be allowed in unauthorised routes,” Ms. Banerjee said, pointing out that action will be taken against police officers responsible for the lapse. The Chief Minister added, “Sometimes police gets scared and tries to maintain a balance between both sides.”

According to Ms. Banerjee, she had repeatedly said that she will not obstruct any Ram Navami procession but then those participating in the rally will have to follow the rules. “I had given similar instructions to my party also,” she said. “Despite my repeated warning, why did you change the route to target a particular community? Swords and even bulldozers were used in the violence. Certain pockets in the State like Howrah are prone to violence,” she added.

State BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said that last year violence erupted in the same area during Ram Navami and added “remarks by Trinamool Congress leadership” was responsible for the violence.

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