Two persons have been killed and three injured in West Bengal's violence-hit Bhatpara, just north of Kolkata, in clashes between unidentified people on Thursday morning. The state police chief, the Chief Secretary and other top officials are holding an emergency meeting after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's instructions.
One of the two who was killed, Rambabu Shaw, was a 17-year-old pani puri (puchka) seller. Another person died of injuries in hospital. Three others who are injured are critical.
As crude bombs were thrown and gunshots were fired, the police used tear gas shells and, some reports claim, also opened fire.
All this, just hours before the Bengal police chief was to inaugurate a new building for the local police station in North 24 Parganas district.
"The Trinamool goons and the police are behind the violence in Barrackpore," Arjun Singh, the BJP lawmaker from Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency, told NDTV. Bhatpara falls under the Barrackpore seat.
This is the latest in a series of clashes in Bhatpara since the nation election, during which massive clashes and violence were seen in the state. The clashes have, on occasion, acquired communal undertones.
The Director General of Police was on his way to inaugurate a new building of the Bhatpara police station when the blasts took place an hour before his arrival.
His convoy turned around and headed back to Kolkata. The inauguration of the new police station has been put on hold.
A team of police officers along with Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel has been deployed in the area, with shops, market places and business establishments seen downing shutters following the unrest.
"A delegation of BJP lawmakers will go to Barrackpore and submit a report on violence in Bengal to the Home Minister," senior BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya told NDTV.
Bhatpara and the neighbouring town of Kankinara were hit by poll-related violence. Bhatpara has witnessed a series of clashes since May 19, when by-election was held in the assembly constituency.
(With inputs from PTI)