After results, clashes, blame-game in Bengal
Incidents of violence were reported from several areas of West Bengal on Thursday and Friday after the Lok Sabha elections results showed a saffron surge in the state, leaving several injured. BJP and Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders blamed each other of fomenting trouble by bringing in “outsiders”.
Houses were vandalised, people were attacked, and gunshots were fired in one instance over the last 24 hours, police said.
Coochbehar district witnessed violence at several places, and people in Bhangar, in Baruipur area of South 24 Parganas district, blocked roads and demanded action against expelled local TMC leader Arabul Islam for allegedly instigating attacks and vandalism.
West Bengal has seen clashes and violence, largely between TMC and BJP workers, through the seven-phase elections. The BJP won 18 seats, up from the two it won in 2014, on Thursday.
In Bankura, which the BJP wrested from TMC, a scuffle allegedly broke out when several BJP supporters were celebrating their victory near TMC Saltora block president Kalipada Roy’s residence. Two bullets were fired, one of which struck a BJP supporter.
In Barrackpore, where BJP’s Arjun Singh, a former TMC legislator, defeated sitting MP Dinesh Trivedi of the Trinamool, tension continues — several houses were vandalised and vehicles damaged in the last 24 hours.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC are imposed in some parts of the constituency. Locals said 15 shops under Jagdal police station’s jurisdiction were vandalised on Thursday, allegedly by BJP supporters. BJP leaders denied the allegations.
Maintaining that the situation is tense, a senior police officer in Barrackpore said, “Things were under control (during polling on May 19), but clashes began again after the results were declared. More than a hundred people have been arrested in the area over the last few days.”
Newly elected MP Arjun Singh accused TMC leader Madan Mitra of inciting violence.
Singh alleged, “Madan Mitra is creating problems in my area by bringing in goons from Kamarhati area and is instead blaming me. I am a resident of that area for years. Why will I disturb peace there?”
Denying the allegations, Mitra said, “The TMC does not believe in politics of violence. Arjun Singh is known as a hooligan.”
In Coochbehar, where BJP’s Nisith Pramanik defeated TMC’s Paresh Adhikary, clashes were reported between Trinamool and BJP supporters from pockets of Tufanganj and Sitai.
State minister and TMC general secretary Partha Chatterjee said, “Violence is being triggered in many areas. Those who know Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee are aware that we have always fought against such situations – we believe in peace.’
BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said, “I want to tell my party workers not to get involved in any violence. However, if violence takes place and they are attacked by TMC supporters, BJP will not keep silent. We will answer each one in their own language.”