Post-poll violence in Bengal: Centre seeks report, Mamata appeals for calm ; BJP chief to visit state
Kolkata, May 3: West Bengal was in the throes of widespread violence on Monday that allegedly left several BJP workers dead and injured in clashes, and shops being looted, prompting the Union Home ministry to seek a factual report from the state governent on incidents of attack on opposition workers.
Videos of alleged arson at a BJP office with bamboo poles and roof tiles burning amid worried cries of people running away from the premises were shared by the party. Photos of dead men, and people scampering with apparel looted from a shop were everywhere on social media. PTI could not independently verify the genuineness of the vieos. BJP claimed at least six of its workers and supporters including a woman was killed in attacks the party blamed on the TMC.
The BJP shared a video with journalists showing a ransacked party office in Nandigram where piles of documents, posters, and broken furniture lay scattered everywhere. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had Sunday lost the seat to her former lieutenant-turned-adversary Suvendu Adhikari.
Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar summoned state Home Secretary, DGP and Kolkata Commissioner of Police and directed them to restore peace. He discussed with them the situation following the incidents that took place a day after the ruling TMC returned to power with an overwhelming majority crushing the BJP.
“ACS Home @HomeBengal who was called by me in wake of rising post poll violence in State has been directed to submit report on post poll violence and vandalism in State & steps taken,” Dhankhar tweeted after meeting Home Secretary H K Dwivedi. He also separately met DGP P Nirajnayan and Police Commissioner Soumen Mitra and directed them to restore law and order.
Mamata Banerjee meets West Bengal Governor, tenders resignation as CM
“DGP West Bengal Police and Commissioner of Kolkata Police summoned by me in the wake of continually rising post poll incidents of arson, looting and violence as also killings in the state were indicated of alarming scenario. Called upon them to take all steps to restore law and order,” he added.
“MHA has asked West Bengal Government for a report on the post-election violence targeting opposition political workers in the state,” a spokesperson tweeted. Banerjee, meanwhile, urged her supporters to maintain peace amid reports of violence and asked them not to fall prey to provocations. The central forces committed many atrocities on TMC supporters during the elections, she alleged.
“Even after the results were announced, BJP attacked our supporters in certain areas but we ask our men not to get provoked and instead report to the police,” she told a press conference. Governor Dhankhar, after a meeting with Banerjee at Raj Bhavan, where she had gone to stake claim to form the government his primary focus during the interaction with her was on the government taking steps to end the post-poll incidents of violence, arson, loot and killing. “It is unfortunate that many lives have been lost, several injured, houses torches in this violence,” he tweeted after meeting the chief minister.
Meanwhile, BJP president J P Nadda is arriving in West Bengal Tuesday on a two-day visit. “BJP National President Shri JP Nadda will be visiting West Bengal on 4-5 May, in view of the widespread post results retributive violence unleashed on BJP workers and supporters by criminal elements in the TMC cadre,” the party tweeted.
It said he will visit the families of affected party workers. BJP national spokesman Anil Baluni said, before being killed a BJP worker was on Facebook live twice to say even animals and children were not being spared by the attackers. He also shared pictures of people with massive gashes on head and unconscious men lying with bandages wrapped around their limbs.
A video showed young men running away with clothes looted from a shop named ‘Hong Kong Fashion’. The faces of some of them were smeared with green colour, and a voice, apparently of the man shooting it, gleefully said “Yehi hona chahiye tha…hum to mijaz bana rahe the. (This should have happened. I was preparing for it).
Another video clip showed a group of burqa clad women standing outside the shop, shouting angrily and asking “yeh Mamata raj hai ki goonda raj hai (is it the rule of Mamata (Banerjee) or the rule of hooligans?” One of them said her brother ran ‘Hong Kong Fashion’ and worked for the BJP.
“It was his choice, why should anyone stop him? People should be free to be with anyone, vote for anyone–TMC or BJP,” she said as some other women joined her and were seen raging against the perpetrators much of which was not comprehensible.