Fresh tension was reported in West Bengal’s Basirhat area on Thursday forcing the police to lob tear gas shells and resort to baton charge even as the state government decided to ban some organisations for allegedly instigating people.
“There may be some reports of small incidents, but the situation is under control,” a senior official at the state secretariat asserted.
“Fresh tension brewed up at Basirhat town and station area after the communal clashes in Baduria in the district. Police had to lob teargas shells and resort to baton charge to disperse an unruly crowd,” a senior police officer said.
Police and BSF personnel immediately rushed to the area to bring the situation under control, he said.
The state cabinet decided to ban the organisations after they were allegedly found instigating people in communal riots, a state minister said.
It was also learnt that if these organisations try to hold any meeting or rally, they will have to inform the police and seek prior permission.
“Police will run a check on their records and then only give permission for holding rallies and meetings,” the minister said.
“Some strategies were chalked out during today’s cabinet meeting to control the situation in Basirhat,” he said.
On whether a BJP delegation, which is planning to visit Baduria on Friday, will be allowed to enter the area, a senior state government official said, “Prohibitory orders are already in place in the area. No gathering is allowed as per rules and the administration and police will take steps per the provision of law.”
The official said four companies of paramilitary forces (around 400 personnel) already present in Baduria are “enough” to maintain law and order situation there.
“The number of forces present there (in Baduria) is enough... At the moment we do not require more forces there... We have been asking for forces from the Centre for the hills, but not getting that,” he said.
North 24 Parganas district officials said life in Baduria and surrounding areas, where communal clashes broke out, returned to normal.
Shops and markets reopened, bus services resumed and local residents started coming out of their homes.
However, Internet services continued to be disrupted and paramilitary forces and police remained posted in the troubled areas.
“Everything is back to normal. There are no reports of any problem from anywhere in Baduria. We are keeping a strict vigil so that nothing untoward happens. Till then police postings will continue here,” the official said.
Baduria and its adjoining areas, including Keosha market, Banshtala, Ramchandrapur and Tentulia, witnessed a communal flare-up following a post by a youth on Facebook earlier this week.
Though the youth was arrested, members of two communities clashed, set up road blockades, damaged shops and set fire to vehicles.
To control the situation, the state government has temporarily suspended internet services in four police station areas of Basirhat, Baduria, Swarupnagar and Deganga to check the spread of rumours through social networking sites.
Asked about when Internet services will resume, the official said, “A thorough review of the situation will be done before a decision is taken in this matter.”
The clashes had triggered an unprecedented spat between Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor K N Tripathi, whom she accused of acting like “a BJP block president” and “threatening” her.
Director General of Police Surajit Kar Purakayastha has requested people to refrain from spreading hatred and not to step into any kind of provocation.
“Those spreading rumours and indulging in hate posts and false propaganda shall not be spared. Please respect the law of the land. Malicious efforts to create divides and attempts to take law in own hands will be sternly dealt with. Please don’t heed rumours,” the DGP said.