Bengal violence: A man injured in Basirhat has died in a hospital in Kolkata
Kolkata: After about half a day of calm, violence erupted again late on Thursday afternoon in Basirhat, a town 100 km from Kolkata, 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. Men and women spilled out on to the streets and on a three-kilometre stretch of the main road through Basirhat, 20 odd groups burnt tyres and stopped and searched cars for the Trinamool MLA. Police vehicles were also stoned.
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.
Tensions are up in Basirhat and adjoining areas in North 24 Parganas where there has been violence since Monday after a Facebook post by a teen about Prophet Mohammad angered Muslims. Opposition parties the BJP, the Congress and the CPM have said they will go to the trouble areas today to call for peace.
Till reports last came in on Thursday evening, the angry groups were out in Basirhat, blocking the main road through the town at many places. BSF soldiers failed to lift the road blocks. Women said they would not move till they were guaranteed safety.
Trinamool legislator Dibyendu Biswas, a former India footballer and elected for the first time in assembly elections last year, has been summoned by his party chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee or his alleged actions in Basirhat.
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 and simmered to an uneasy calm on Wednesday after the BSF began patrolling the area, before erupting again on Thursday.
The Centre sent 400 personnel of the 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.
The BJP says more than 2,000 Muslims attacked Hindu families in the North 24 Parganas 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. "Total administration failure in Bengal," said Mr Vijayvargiya who landed in Kolkata on Thursday.
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 for an update on the tension. The Governor has said Ms Banerjee's allegations are an attempt to "emotionally blackmail the people of Bengal."