West Bengal: Bhatpara on edge as fresh clashes leave two dead, three injured; section 144 imposed

Section 144 has been imposed in the area and senior police officials have rushed to the spot, with shops, market places and business establishments seen downing shutters following the unrest.

Two persons were killed and three others injured in violence-hit Bhatpara in West Bengal’s North 24 Paraganas district Thursday after clashes broke out between two unidentified groups. Section 144 has been imposed in the area and senior police officials have rushed to the spot.

Considering the law and order situation in Bhatpara area, the West Bengal government formed a new police station by separating Jagdal and Bhatpara which was scheduled to be inaugurated by DGP Virendra Kumar in the morning. Hours before the inauguration of this newly formed police station, massive violence broke out in the area. “Two people have died, few have been injured. The situation is still tensed,” a senior police official told The Indian Express.

While the BJP alleged that two were killed in the police firing, police officials denied the saffron party’s allegations saying they only lobbed tear gas shells to control the situation.

“Two persons have died in police firing in Bhatpara which was disturbed since morning today. We will be sending a team in the area,” party’s West Bengal in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya said. Meanwhile, TMC leaders alleged BJP supporters were firing when some got injured.

Accusing the BJP of creating violence in the area, local TMC leader Madan Mitra said, “The violence is being triggered by Arjun Singh and his people and we have to take serious action to tackle the situation”. Mitra also compared Bhatpara to once violence-hit areas like Jungle Mahal and Darjeeling.

The state police chief, the Chief Secretary and other top officials are holding an emergency meeting to bring normalcy in the area.

“The state administration is looking at the Bhatpara violence very seriously. Some anti-social elements and outsiders are behind this. Chief Minister and Senior Police officers have visited the spot in the recent past to take stock of the situation. A new police station has been formed and is functional from today. RAF and Police reinforcements have been sent. Route march is being conducted in the area. Section 144 has been imposed in Bhatpara, Jagdal and nearby areas. South Bengal ADG Sanjay Singh has taken incharge as Barrackpore Police Commissionerate with immediate effect,” Home Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay told reporters at Nabanno.

Bhatpara has witnessed a spate of clashes since May 19, when the bypoll was held in the Assembly constituency. The area was marred by violence as BJP and Trinamool Congress workers allegedly clashed and hurled bombs. Altogether 18 people were arrested in this connection.

A team of police officers along with Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel has been deployed in the area, with shops, market places and business establishments seen downing shutters following the unrest.

Source: The Indian Express

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