Fresh tension was reported in West Bengal’s Basirhat area today forcing the police to resort to teargas shells and baton charge even as life crippled back to normalcy in strife-torn Baduria in North 24 Parganas district. “Fresh tension brewed up at Basirhat town and station area after the communal clashes in Baduria in the district. Police had to resort to cane charge and teargas shells to disperse unruly crowd,” a senior police officer said. Police and BSF teams immediately rushed to the area to bring the situation under control, he said. It is yet to be ascertained if any person has been injured in the police action, sources said. The Baduria locality falls under the Basirhat sub- division of the district.
Life in Baduria and surrounding areas, which saw communal clashes over a Facebook post, returned to normal today with no fresh incidents of violence, a senior officer said. Shops and markets reopened, bus services resumed and locals 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 has been no report of any problem from anywhere in Baduria in North 24 Parganas district,” a senior official of the state home department told PTI. “We are keeping a strict vigil so that nothing untoward happens here. Till then police postings here will continue,” he 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 had to temporarily suspend 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.”
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had yesterday said that the situation in Baduria was “under control”. The clashes had triggered an unprecedented spat between her 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,” Purakayastha said.