After Facebook Post, Communal Tension In Bengal, Centre Sends In Troops

West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi called CM Mamata Banerjee over tension in North 24 Parganas district, which started with an offensive Facebook post about Prophet Mohammed by a student.

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After Facebook Post, Communal Tension In Bengal, Centre Sends In Troops

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Mamata Banerjee said the governor humiliated her over the communal unrest in North 24 Parganas.

Kolkata: 

Highlights

  1. Tension in Bengal's North 24 Parganas over offensive Facebook post
  2. 17-year-old student arrested in connection with the post
  3. Mamata Banerjee accuses governor of humiliating her over incident
The Centre on Tuesday sent in about 400 troops of the paramilitary Border Security Force or BSF to West Bengal after a request from the state government trying to control communal trouble near Kolkata. Tension flared in several places in North 24 Parganas district over an offensive Facebook post on Friday about Prophet Mohammed by a 17-year-old student. The student has been arrested, but there have been violent protests in his town Baduria, about 70 km from Kolkata, and other areas nearby.

Questioned about the situation, a furious Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday accused the state Governor of "speaking to her like a block-level BJP leader" and said she felt humiliated and "had even thought of quitting".

"The way the governor spoke to me was like a BJP block leader. I was threatened, humiliated, I thought of leaving (quitting)... I was so insulted," Ms Banerjee raged after Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi phone call.

"The governor has not elected me. The people have elected me. The governor's behaviour was unacceptable. How dare he talk to me about law and order?"

In a statement to the media, Governor Tripathi responded to the charges saying, there was nothing in the talks for which the chief minister might have felt insulted, threatened or humiliated.

"The Honourable Governor cannot remain a mute spectator of the affairs in the state," his office said in a statement.

Sources say a BJP delegation had met the governor over the violence.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Chief Minister's party men faced trouble in Berachampa, one of the areas affected by the violence.

Trinamool parliamentarians Idris Ali and Hasan Imran Ahmed helped ferry a sadhu or Hindu cleric to safety after an audience they were jointly addressing turned violent.

As the Muslim-dominated crowd turned aggressive, the sadhu was rushed to the MPs' car which was then attacked with stones. A police vehicle escorting the MPs rushed them to safety.

Both Mr Imran and Mr Ali played down the attack. They said the Hindu cleric had tried to calm tempers, but that agitated the crowd, forcing them to rush back.

"I cannot deny that there is tension, but the good thing there are no Hindu-Muslim clashes. There is an understanding in the community and even the Hindus are condemning the social media post. But yes, the Muslim youth are agitated," said Mr Imran.

Mr Ali, who is the MP from the affected Bashirhat constituency, accused the BJP of trying to stir up communal trouble in Bengal.

"Who all are the people who egged on a 17-year-old to post what he did? That needs to be investigated," he said.

On Monday, large crowds blocked the roads and rail tracks at several places near Kolkata.

At Barasat, a police officer was injured in an attack by BJP supporters who blocked an arterial road to protest what they alleged were attacks by Muslims on Hindu properties.

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