Union Minister Anurag Thakur on Friday condemned the violence during a Ram Navami procession in West Bengal and hit out at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, alleging that her government remained “a mute spectator” when devotees of Lord Ram were attacked and injured.
The Information and Broadcasting Minister termed the violence and the state government's response to it "shameful" and demanded that action be taken against those involved in it.
Violence broke out between two groups during a Ram Navami procession in the Kazipara area of Howrah on Thursday evening. Several vehicles, including some belonging to the police, were torched and some shops ransacked during the violence.
The West Bengal chief minister on Friday claimed that the BJP, along with other right-wing organisations, was responsible for the violence.
Hitting back at her, Thakur said, “Pelting of stones, arson, hurling of bombs -- all these have become common in Bengal.”
“The way journalists were attacked and stones were pelted on those taking out the Ram Navami procession, nothing could be more shameful than this,” he told reporters.
Claiming that some journalists were also attacked and injured during the violence, the Union minister questioned the silence of those who often advocate for press freedom.
“Attack on journalists cannot be tolerated. But why are those who talk about press freedom silent,” the minister asked.
Thakur, a senior BJP leader, said it is the responsibility of the state government to maintain law and order. West Bengal is governed by the Trinamool Congress.
"When even journalists become victims of violence and the government of the state remains a mute spectator, no matter how much it is condemned, it would always remain inadequate,” he added.
"It is not right if the state governments remain silent when stones are pelted on Ram bhakts and they are injured,” the minister said.
-With PTI Input