Kolkata: Two factions of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) from different communities clashed in Mominpur area of the state capital on Saturday night with hooligans tearing down flags of the minority community as Kojagari Laxmi Puja coincided with Eid Milad-un-Nabi.
While a group of Muslims was hanging religious symbols at Ward No. 78 of Mayurbhanj area, a few men led by one Bablu Singh beat them up and destroyed the symbols, triggering a clash between the two communities.
Meanwhile, members of a right-wing group allegedly spread the rumour that the Pakistani flag had been unfurled in Muslim-dominated areas, causing the destruction of religious symbols of the minority community.
Efforts of peace-loving residents of the area to disengage the two sides were futile as both sides attacked each other with bricks, tube lights and stones with the police being a mute spectator.
Subsequently, a group of residents of the area demanding Singh’s arrest laid siege to the Ekbalpore Police Station. When TMC corporator of adjacent Ward No. 75 Nijamuddin Shams arrived at the police station, he was heckled by the angry mob and fled. Finally, Singh was arrested due to increasing public pressure.
However, TMC leader and Kolkata mayor Firhad Hakim called up the police station the next morning asking for Singh’s release. As Singh was released, the area was again tense. Finally, normalcy was restored as peace-loving residents met with members of both communities. On Monday, Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was imposed in Ekbalpore for three days.
The main alleged perpetrators of the violence were Phoenix Group owner Ghulam Ashraf, TMC corporator Shams Iqbal’s son-in-law Rehan Khan and Shabaz Alam, who is close to Hakim.
Locals have alleged that there is a conspiracy to set the Harijan slum on Mayurbhjanj road on fire to facilitate the construction of buildings by real estate promoters.
Mominpur’s CPI(M) leader and former councillor Faiyaz Ahmad told Newsclick that a leader of late chief minister Jyoti Basu’s stature is needed to control West Bengal’s situation and the riot could have been nipped in the bud if the TMC government had wished. The common peace-loving people of the area had to suffer because of the incapability of the police and the administration, he alleged.
Ahmad further alleged that the TMC had used members of both factions who clashed on Saturday to cast fake votes in the last municipal election.
CPI(M) state secretary MD Salim alleged that the state administration and the police were responsible for the violence adding that promoters and developers in the area “use religion to achieve their political goals”. During the “Left Front’s rule, such attempts were sternly dealt with and the police were not inept”, he added and condemned Singh’s release following Hakim’s call.
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