Communal violence erupts in Malda district

Kolkata (Matters India): A massive rally organised by a Muslim organisation protesting against the derogatory remarks of Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha leader, Kamlesh Tiwari, against Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) turned violent on Sunday in Malda district of West Bengal.

“The situation in Kaliachawk is now under control. We are collecting the reports of damages.” Anuj Sharma, Inspector General (Law and Order), said.

According to police, the protesters set ablaze about 40 vehicles, including a dozen private vehicles, and set the Kaliachak Police Station on fire, leading to blockade of National Highway 34 for several hours.

Subhabrata Ghosh, the inspector-in-charge of Kaliachawk police station, and other police officers were wounded when in the attack. The police officers who were soon outnumbered fled, sources said.

“There was a rally of about 250,000 people, which took an ugly turn. About 25 vehicles, including some police vans, were set on fire. Policemen were beaten up but there were no severe injuries. I have heard of one person sustaining a bullet injury but there is no official confirmation of it,” Additional Superintendent of Police, Dilip Hazra, said.

However, the area seemed like a ghost town on Monday morning with most people staying indoors and most offices and business established closed. “The situation is still tense and most people fearing for their life preferred to stay indoors. Police has done flag march in various areas, but people are unsure when violence would against erupt,” said Paresh De, a resident of Kaliachak, GulfNews reported.

“Yesterday’s violence had led to massive loss of property. Apart from damaging public property and police and army vehicles, around 30 houses were ransacked and many other small shops and business establishments in the area were damaged. Most did not venture out fearing further loss,” said Sunil Das, a businessman in the area.

Two people, including a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activist from a nearby area who led a separate group of people to stop the protesters, were injured in the violence. The RSS also claimed that many of its activist have received threat calls from the Muslim organisation but police has refused to register complaints.

“The police is toeing the political line of the ruling Trinamool Congress and is trying to marginalise all Hindu organisations in the area. Hence none is willing to admit and allow a group to hold people at ransom,” an RSS activist said.

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