Violence In Bengal's Howrah Over Ram Navami Procession; Chief Minister Banerjee Blames The BJP
Stones were reportedly thrown at a Ram Navami procession in West Bengal's Howrah district. The incident occurred Thursday (30 March) while the procession was passing through the PM Basti locality.
Rising tensions caused vandalism of shops and houses, as well as vehicle fires.
The non-governmental organisation (NGO) Anjani Putra Sena had organised the Ram Navami procession from Avani Hall to Howrah Maidan area, as they do annually.
A Howrah resident who was part of the procession reported that stones were thrown from the rooftops, causing fear and prompting them to leave the area.
The Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, held the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) responsible.
In her statement, she accused the BJP of constantly attempting to ignite communal violence, including now in Howrah — "It is the only thing they are good at."
She said she will not obstruct any Ram Navami procession and had, therefore, issued instructions to both her party workers and the police.
According to Banerjee, while one community observes Annapurna Puja, the other is fasting and praying during Ramzan, with over 33 per cent Muslim population in the state.
"I had said it repeatedly [not to disrupt the peace]. They have been hiring goons from outside the state to orchestrate communal riots. Nobody has stopped their processions but they do not have the right to march with swords and bulldozers. How did they get the audacity to do this in Howrah?" Banerjee said.
The Chief Minister also accused procession organisers of a last-minute route change.
"Why did they change the route [at the last moment] and take the unauthorised route to target and attack one community?" she said.
The Chief Minister has warned stern action against everyone involved in the unrest.
Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari blamed Banerjee for the disruption.
Shamik Bhattacharya, a spokesperson for the BJP, attributes these incidents to the Trinamool Congress' minority appeasement and police inaction.
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