Life in the communal violence-hit areas of West Bengal’s north 24 Parganas district was on Thursday limping back to normalcy after remaining tense for the last three days. In Baduria, Banstala and Tetulia — the worst affected areas in Basirhat sub-division, some roadside shops opened and public transport commenced plying. The roads were mostly deserted and the few locals who came out on the road said they wanted peace to be restored in the affected areas. “We all want peace to be restored. People of all communities have been staying together for ages here. We want things to be that way,” a pedestrian said while talking to a news channel. “No fresh incidents of violence have been reported from the region. There are enough police personnel and security forces deployed to avert any untoward situation,” an officer from the Baduria police station told IANS.
Armed paramilitary personnel was seen marching on the streets while a large number of state police personnel kept vigil at check posts and pickets in the violence-stricken pockets. Train services on the Sealdah-Basirhat line also normalised after being partially disrupted for the past two days. “Today, train services on that line are normal till now. No trains have been cancelled so far,” Ravi Mahapatra, Chief Public Relations Officer of Eastern Railway, told IANS. However, internet and Wi-Fi services continued to be suspended in the affected areas.
Clashes broke out after a Facebook post by a local youth went viral earlier this week. Though the youth was arrested and the post deleted, trouble broke out and spread to several areas as trees were felled to put up road blockades, vehicles, including those of the police, torched and houses and shops damaged. A number of police personnel sustained injuries during the clashes. The central government has rushed 300 paramilitary personnel to control the situation.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday claimed that the situation in Baduria was “normal” and announced the formation of vigilante teams named “Shanti Vahini” throughout the state to maintain law and order. Meanwhile, a delegation of state BJP representatives is set to visit the violence-stricken areas in Basirhat on Thursday and talk to the locals. They would also help the victims of violence to lodge police complaints against the offenders, a senior state BJP leader said.