Howrah, December 22
In the wake of a communal clash over a religious procession, in which at least 25 people were injured at Dhulagarh in this district of West Bengal, the state government has transferred SP of Howrah rural division Sabyasachi Raman Mishra.
Mr Mishra has been replaced by young IPS officer Sumit Kumar, a week after a village at Dhulagarh was hit by a communal clash over a religious procession.
Mr Mishra, avoided to comment on his sudden transfer, while government officials refused to speak anything about the reason behind the IPS official’s replacement.
On December 12, people of two communities were engaged in a clash with each other at Dhulagarh, 28 km away from the state capital, over a religious procession to mark the birth anniversary of Holy Prophet.
Tension erupted after an attack on the procession held to mark Eid-ul-Nabi. Houses and shops were burnt down in a retaliatory attack. Rioters carried bombs, due to which police had to use tear gas to bring the situation under control. During the clash, few crude bombs were allegedly hurled by one community. Several houses, shops and a temple were reportedly vandalized, locals were looted and motorcycles, cycles and few homes were set on fire.
According to locals, several people were injured after being beaten up by the attackers.
The violence lasted for two more days at the area, which triggered tension at the village, locals alleged.
A heavy police force along with Rapid Action Force (RAF) was deployed in the area, Cr PC section 144 imposed and few police pickets were set up at the village to control the situation.
Police have booked at least 50 people so far from the area for allegedly creating violence, while all types of movements have been restricted there to maintain law and order, a senior police official said. Locals say many people were injured during the clashes and even after a week, tension continued in the area. Vehicles were damaged and many people have been rendered homeless.
“We have nothing left. Our home has been destroyed and there is nothing left to feed our children even. We are starving. There were cylinder blasts, houses were burning. Now, we have no option but to stay at relatives’ houses. Police did nothing,” said a victim. Despite police claiming that the situation is in control, the people are saying it is far from it. People are still scared and worried about the situation. Leaders of BJP and Congress went to Dhulagarh to witness violence hit area’s situation but both teams were prevented by the police from entering the village.
Setting up barricades, police stopped the BJP leaders, few km away from the actual location, and engaged in a scuffle with them.
The BJP delegation left the place without visiting the village. West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee (WBPCC) president Adhir
Ranjan Chowdhury tried to visit the area along with other Congress leaders but was stopped midway when police cited imposition of prohibitory orders in the area.
Mr Chowdhury said, “It is sad that this incident took place. Tension that has developed in this area is making difficult for the people to live peacefully. They are not able to go home. The situation has become worse. In West Bengal, only politics is happening. Everyone knows who police listen to.”
“My request to the government is to look into this matter carefully. Police have stopped me, what I can do,” he added. Meanwhile, the BJP blamed the Mamata Banerjee government for failing to control communal clashes in the state and compared Dhulagarh to the Kaliachak incident in Malda, earlier this year. West Bengal is a bomb making factory, said local BJP leaders, and Ms Banerjee is doing minority appeasement according to them. “She must break her silence on the communal violence. The Bengal Police is walking along with you to protect criminals – is this your state policy?” asked BJP leader Siddharth Nath Singh.
However, All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) Rajya Sabha Member and party’s national spokespersons Derek O’Brien hit back soon after by tweeting “Communal friend (from Panama), your party again tried divisive stunts in Bengal. People here will always reject these communal politics.”
Howrah, December 22