BJP leaders in Bengal sat on protest for over an hour at Chinsura in the Hooghly district where two communities have clashed over coronavirus since Sunday and resorted to widespread arson and looting.
The local MP Locket Chatterjee was joined in her protest by Barrackpore lawmaker Arjun Singh. They sat on a protest first at the office of the district magistrate demanding to meet him and later at Jyoti More on the outskirts of Telinipara which was the epicentre of the violence.
"Four days have passed but the Police Commissioner has not been able to control the situation. Why? Because he has not got orders from the top. All over Bengal, the police is doing a good job fighting coronavirus. But why are they not fighting the situation here? Because there is vote bank politics here," the BJP leaders alleged.
The district magistrate could not meet the BJP delegation possibly because he was in a video conference meeting with chief minister Mamata Banerjee. She in fact sought out the district magistrate directly and ordered him to ensure calm in his district.
"There are attempts to create riots in the state in the Ramzan month," she said. "There are some political parties in our state who go around starting riots. The DM must ensure no one can spark riots and must monitor social media for fake provocative news," she added, ordering him to deploy a nodal officer to monitor Facebook and Twitter.
The chief minister has asked the district magistrate to share a list of people who have lost their homes or businesses in the arson so they can be compensated. No rioting will be tolerated, she said, and ordered the district magistrate to crackdown.
The violence broke out at Telinipara on Sunday evening after people from a containment zone at Urdibazar came there, allegedly to use some public toilets at a jute mill. Locals objected and, according to police sources, an altercation ensued that turned violent. The locals also allegedly used the word corona to label the outsiders and taunt them.
Police had to fire 26 tear gas shells to disperse warring mobs on Sunday. 37 people were arrested and prohibitory orders were imposed. The situation was calm on Monday but violence erupted on Tuesday once again with heavy bombing by both communities. 47 people were arrested and Police Commissioner Humayun Kabir yesterday said the situation is under control.
Early this morning before dawn, however, some houses were set on fire and the fire could be seen in the dark for miles.