A war of words broke out between Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in opposition over the recent communal violence in West Bengal’s Howrah during Ram Navami celebrations. While the TMC accused the BJP of conspiring to polarise the society for political gain, the saffron camp claimed it was “appeasement politics” of the ruling party behind the incident.
Both parties shared videos on social media platforms as evidence against who was responsible for the vandalism. Videos shared by the BJP showed some men ransacking shops and throwing stones at the police forces present there, while Trinamool’s videos showed armed men carrying guns and weapons.
TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, during a press conference, alleged that the procession was taken out without police permission as part of a long-term attempt of the saffron camp to disrupt peace and harmony in the region.
"Why did such an incident take place during Ram Navami? Remember, BJP leaders had met (Union Home Minister) Amit Shah in Delhi on March 27. There must be a link between the developments. The probe by state investigating agencies will bring out the whole truth, we want the real conspirators to be identified and brought to book," he alleged.
The Mamata Banerjee-led government in Bengal has handed over the probe to Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and prohibitory orders were also imposed on Friday in Kazipara in Howrah where the violence was reported.
Moreover, internet services were suspended in some areas of Howrah till 2 am in the wake of the violence.
Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari told a press meet that the violence was the result of the “appeasement politics” of the Mamata Banerjee government which failed to rein in “anti-national forces”.
Demanding an NIA probe into the incident, Adhikari said the chief minister must step down for her failure to control the violence and "apologise to Hindus for the attacks on their properties."
Union minister Smriti Irani also lashed out at Banerjee for protecting the stone pelters. "Instead of delivering justice, CM Mamata protected those who took law in their hands and attacked the Shobha Yatra of Ram Navami. She instead put those who took out the yatra in the dock and gave a clean chit to those who pelted the procession with stones," the Union minister said.
On Friday, CM Mamata Banerjee and Governor C V Ananda Bose reviewed the situation and increased riot police deployment in the area. Union home minister Amit Shah also held a telephone conversation with the Bengal governor and sough details on the violence.
Governor Bose asked the state government to “ensure foolproof arrangements to maintain law and order effectively” besides action to be taken “against miscreants.” He also said those who resort to violence under the illusion that they can hoodwink the people will soon realise they are in a fool’s paradise.
“There will be effective and concerted action to book the culprits and bring them before the law. Setting fire to public property, that too on the sacred Ram Navami day, is a highly provocative act and will be viewed seriously,” he said.