Howrah tense; Smriti Irani slams Mamata for ‘clean chit’, TMC cries conspiracy

The ruling Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party have engaged in a war of words over communal violence in Howrah during Ram Navami celebrations with the West Bengal government handing over the probe to Criminal Investigation Department (CID). Prohibitory orders were also imposed in Howrah on Friday after fresh incidents of stone pelting were reported in the district.

Union minister Smriti Irani accused chief minister Mamata Banerjee of protecting those who pelted it with stones. The Trinamool Congress, however, alleged that it was a conspiracy of the BJP to polarise the society for political gain.

Meanwhile, both parties have shared videos as evidence to show who is responsible for the violence in Howrah.

Top 10 updates on Howrah communal violence:

  1. In Howrah, Shibpur, Santragachi, Dasnagar, Salkia, Malipanchghora, and Jagacha areas prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC have been imposed till April 1, Howrah district magistrate Mukta Arya stated in an order on Friday.
  2. Internet services were also suspended in some areas of Howrah till 2am Saturday in the wake of the violence. The Howrah DM has issued notice to telecom, internet, and cable service providers to restrict provocative messages and videos, in the wake of violence that happened in the area.
  3. The Mamata Banerjee government handed over the probe into Howrah violence to the CID. A special team led by Inspector General of Police, CID Sunil Choudhury, has initiated the investigation.
  4. In a statement, Smriti Irani said it was not the first time that such an “attack” happened on a religious exercise of Hinduism and alleged a similar attack had taken place during Lakshmi Puja. “Even then Mamata Banerjee could not protect the Hindu community,” Irani said. “Instead of delivering justice, CM Mamata protected those who took law in their hands and attacked the Shobha Yatra of Ram Navami. She instead put those who took out the yatra in the dock and gave a clean chit to those who pelted the procession with stones,” the Union minister said.
  5. Mamata Banerjee asserted that neither Hindus nor Muslims, but the BJP and other right-wing organisations were behind the violence in Howrah’s Kazipara area during a Ram Navami procession. She also appealed to the people of both communities to maintain peace and law and order in the area.
  6. Leader of Opposition in the state Suvendu Adhikari said told reporters that the violence was the result of the alleged appeasement politics of the Mamata Banerjee government which failed to rein in “anti-national forces”.
  7. Trinamool national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee alleged that the procession was taken out without police permission as part of a long-term attempt of the saffron camp to disrupt peace and harmony. He also claimed that intelligence feedback suggested that the violence at Kazirapa was a deep-rooted conspiracy hatched by the BJP which wants to divide people based on religion for political gains.
  8. Union home minister Amit Shah spoke to West Bengal governor CV Ananda Bose and took stock of the situation in Howrah. Shah also talked with West Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumdar and enquired about the law and order situation in the state.
  9. Adhikari on Friday filed a PIL in the Calcutta high court seeking an NIA probe into the matter and immediate deployment of central forces in the violence-affected areas.
  10. On Thursday, several vehicles were set on fire after two groups clashed in Howrah amid Ram Navami celebrations. During the procession, the rioters vandalized public and private properties and set vehicles on fire.