Ram Navami celebrations in West Bengal were mired in controversy with clashes reported from different parts of the state. One person was killed and five others were injured after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other saffron outfits took out armed rallies defying the ban imposed by Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress government. A 50-year-old man was killed after he got trapped in a clash between police and Bajrang Dal supporters in Purulia district yesterday. Five policemen received injuries.
“The clashes broke out when the police were trying to stop some people from taking part in an armed procession. Preliminary investigations revealed that the man suffered fatal injuries after he was trapped in the clashes. He was rushed to a district hospital where he was declared dead,” Purulia SP Joy Biswas was quoted as saying. A total of 16 persons were arrested and additional police forces have been deployed in the area, Biswas said.
Anuj Sharma, ADG, Law and Order said that following the news of the death, some villagers reportedly had an altercation with DSP Subrata Pal and other policemen and later beat them up. Five policemen have been injured, including a DSP who is critical and has been shifted to SSKM Hospital in Kolkata, he said, according to The Indian Express.
A war of words over Ram Navami celebrations in West Bengal has erupted between BJP and Trinamool Congress leaders after local BJP leaders threatened to defy the ban on carrying arms during Ram Navami processions. State BJP president Dilip Ghosh had earler said, “We will bring out processions with swords, tridents and maces throughout the state. If they try to stop us, there will be trouble. There is a tradition of carrying arms, and we will follow it. The Ram Mandir will soon come up.” Ghosh participated in a rally with a sword and a mace in Kharagpur of West Midnapore district. Senior BJP leader and former state unit chief Rahul Sinha also led a rally in Hooghly district.
TMC hit back at BJP over taking out such rallies. TMC leader and State Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said people of Bengal will not accept this politics in the name of Ram. “Ram is revered and worshipped across the country and they (BJP) are celebrating it with DJs and music,” he said. Senior TMC leaders such Saugata Roy, Bratya Basu, Gautam Deb and Asish Banerjee were among those who participated in Ram Navami rallies across the state.
West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights chairperson Ananya Chatterjee said involving minors in an armed procession is a serious offence and those responsible should be punished.
In a break from the previous year, Mamata Banerjee’s TMC decided to celebrate Ram Navami with processions across all districts in the state to mark the occasion. The decision was welcomed by the BJP which said that good sense had prevailed over the Chief Minister.