Life in West Bengal’s Baduria and surrounding areas, where communal clashes broke out over a Facebook post, returned to normalcy today with no fresh incidents of violence, a senior official 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 area. “Everything is back to normal. There has been no report of any problem from anywhere in Baduria and its adjoining areas in Basirhat in North 24 Parganas district,” a senior official of the state home department told PTI.
“We are keeping 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 the 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 would 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 said yesterday 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 Purakayasta has requested people to refrain from spreading hatred. “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,” Purakayasta said.