Fresh violence erupted in Bengal's Basirhat yesterday after the death of a man injured in the clashes.
Basirhat, West Bengal: Roopa Ganguly and other BJP leaders were today stopped near the Kolkata airport as they attempted to visit Basirhat, where violence erupted again yesterday after a police lathicharge. Teams from the Congress and the Left were asked to turn back too by the police, which has barricaded Basirhat, about 100 km from state capital Kolkata. The opposition parties said they were going to the town to appeal for calm; Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has requested them to keep away, promising that no leader from her Trinamool Congress will go there either.
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Basirhat, torn apart by communal violence since earlier this week, was relatively calm since Thursday morning, but erupted again late afternoon after the police used batons on angry crowds who alleged that cops were detaining only Hindu youth for the last three days since riots began.
The area's legislator Dibyendu Biswas, of the ruling Trinamool Congress, was present during the detentions and locals alleged that he pointed out Hindu homes to the police to be searched. On the main Basirhat road, groups of people stopped and searched cars for the MLA, who had to flee the town with police help and has now been summoned by his party to explain his alleged actions.
Angry groups set up road blocks and burned truck tyres. Women came out on the streets with brooms and sticks in their hands. Mobs stoned police vehicles.
A three-member BJP team sent from Delhi by party chief Amit Shah was to have visited Basirhat today but has now rescheduled the trip for tomorrow.
The BJP says more than 2,000 Muslims attacked Hindu families in the district and its offices in several places were set on fire. It has accused Ms Banerjee of protecting anti-social elements and said the situation is a fallout of her appeasement of the Muslim community which supports her party.
Ms Banerjee has blamed the BJP, the RSS and other fringe groups for the violence and accused senior leaders of provocative statements. She has also had heated exchanges with Governor Kesari Nath Tripathi, who she accused of insulting and humiliating her when he called her for an update on the tension. The Governor has said Ms Banerjee's allegations are an attempt to "emotionally blackmail the people of Bengal."
As news of his death spread, a row erupted at the hospital gates between workers of the Trinamool and the BJP over which party Mr Ghosh belonged to. The police struggled to disperse the two groups that clashed and urged top BJP leaders, including state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh and national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, to leave the spot.
Twenty-one people have been injured in the violence since Monday night and of them eight, including Mr Ghosh, were shifted to Kolkata's RG Kar hospital in a critical condition. The violence peaked on Tuesday. The Centre sent 400 personnel of the Border Security Force (BSF) on Tuesday to help maintain peace, but Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee turned down the offer of additional troops on Thursday, saying the state police could handle the situation.