Kolkata: One person was killed and five police personnel were injured during a clash between two groups over a Ram Navami procession in Purulia here as sword-wielding BJP supporters defied the ban on armed rallies in several places of West Bengal, police said today.
The incident that took place yesterday, according to TMC leaders, saw even children carrying swords in the procession.
While the Purulia SP Joy Biswas confirmed that one person was killed in the clash, the Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Anuj Sharma said five police personnel, including a deputy superintendent of police-rank officer, were injured after violence erupted between two groups over the Ram[dropcaps round=”no”][/dropcaps] Navami procession in the Arsha police station area.
Notably, the state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had last week said that the government will not allow participants to carry arms in the Ram Navami rallies barring some organisations which have been organising such rallies for a long time.
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh, who was also seen participating in one such rally yesterday with a sword and a mace at Kharagpur, today said he was not aware of any such ban on carrying arms in the procession. Ghosh said it was an age-old Hindu tradition to conduct “astra puja” (worship of weapons) on the day of Ram Navami.
“Where is the government order banning arms in Ram Navami processions. Where is the circular?” the BJP state president asked.
The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the opposition BJP had organised processions to celebrate Ram Navami in various parts of the state, with the saffron party dubbing the rallies as a first step towards “uniting the Hindus” of Bengal. The ADGP said armed processions were taken out at several places to mark the occasion.
“Despite the police not giving permission, arms were carried in rallies at various places. The police will take legal action against it,” Sharma said.
TMC leaders of Purulia district have alleged that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) took out an armed Ram Navami procession, where even children were seen wielding weapons. However, when contacted the state VHP president Sachindranath Singha he denied all the allegations.
“We had not taken out any armed Ram Navami procession. I have no information about any such armed procession with children, but still as allegations have been raised I will look into it,” he said.
Ananya Chatterjee Chakraborty, chairperson of the West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights, has said that she was aware of the incident and would take action against it. The TMC, in a bid to counter the rallies organised by the BJP and Sangh Parivar affiliates, took out colourful processions and held Ram Puja in various parts of the state yesterday. Earlier, senior TMC leader and state minister Partha Chatterjee has alleged that the BJP was trying to divide the people by using religion as a tool, asserting that the saffron party’s strategy would never succeed in Bengal.
“Religion does not teach us to divide the people. If the BJP tries to divide the people on the basis of religion, we will give them a befitting reply,” he has said.
But on the other hand, Ghosh claimed that these rallies were a first step towards uniting the Hindus of the state against the “anti-Hindu TMC government”. He also mocked the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC over celebrating Ram Navami.
“Better late than never. At last, they have accepted the importance of Lord Ram. We are happy that they have realised their mistake,” Ghosh said.
Several Ram Navami rallies were organised yesterday in the state by the members of the Sangh Parivar. Colourful processions with saffron flags and photos of Lord Ram were taken out with the Sangh Parivar activists shouting slogans hailing Lord Ram. The processions were organised under the banner of “Rama Navami Utjapan Samity”.
BJP leader Mukul Roy and the party’s state general secretary Sayantan Basu, national secretary Rahul Sinha were among other party leaders who took part in Ram Navami rallies at various places in the state.
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)