1. Communal clashes in Bengal: Homes ransacked, vehicles torched, people flee

Communal clashes in Bengal: Homes ransacked, vehicles torched, people flee

Several people have been injured while an estimated 30 homes and several shops, apart from four vehicles, have been ransacked or set on fire in Hazinagar and Halisahar where communal clashes broke....

By: | Published: October 17, 2016 2:56 PM
A low-intensity bomb allegedly thrown at a Muharram procession Wednesday resulted in violence with a number of Hindu homes being allegedly attacked by mobs, and Muslim mobs allegedly retaliating. A low-intensity bomb allegedly thrown at a Muharram procession Wednesday resulted in violence with a number of Hindu homes being allegedly attacked by mobs, and Muslim mobs allegedly retaliating.

Several people have been injured while an estimated 30 homes and several shops, apart from four vehicles, have been ransacked or set on fire in Hazinagar and Halisahar where communal clashes broke out on Wednesday. According to an Indian Express report, the situation is under control, the police said. “We are ascertaining how many people were injured in the violence,” an official said. “But it is spread over a large area, which is very densely populated. The figure will not be less than 20. At least 30 homes and shops have been damaged, while at least four vehicles have been gutted.”

A low-intensity bomb allegedly thrown at a Muharram procession Wednesday resulted in violence with a number of Hindu homes being allegedly attacked by mobs, and Muslim mobs allegedly retaliating. By Thursday, the violence had spread to nearby Patterson Road, a Hindu-majority area adjoining the Muslim-dominated colony around Hazinagar Chhoti Masjid.
Hazinagar has been particularly tense for the past few months. “There has always been an issue with the Jama Masjid. Durga idol processions have traditionally avoided a route that directly crosses the mosque but since last year they have been insistent on using that route,” said Anwar Ali, 72, a tailor who lives in the area.

Four days later, Muslim homes stood empty in Hindu-majority areas, as did Hindu homes in Muslim-dominated areas. Many of these houses bore signs of having been ransacked. With shops shut, food and medicine were beginning to become scarce. Anwar Ali’s shop, now gutted, was surrounded by shops owned by Hindus; these were left untouched. In contrast, BJP councilor of ward 23 at Halishahar Ravishankar Singh alleged, “I was conducting the tazia along with Muslim elders to ensure there was no violence. It was at this point that the mob turned up and started loot and arson. Even my office was not spared and they burnt everything but all Muslim homes and shops in the area were spared.”

The BJP has said it will “compile a report” on communal violence in Bengal during Muharram to be sent to the Union Home Ministry. State BJP secretary Sayantan Basu said the BJP will “hold a protest against communalism in Bengal” Monday.

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