There has been a conflict between right wing activists and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over the announcement of a complete lockdown on the 5th of August to break the chain of the novel coronavirus. However, this did not stop the BJP and other right wing activists across the state from performing Bhoomi pujan to mark the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.
In Kolkata, while BJP State President Dilip Ghosh performed Bhoomi Pujan indoors, others were arrested after performing Bhoomi Pujan outside, in temples or the BJP office.
“When the government took this decision, we asked them to change the date of lockdown as people want to celebrate and perform the puja in temples. But the government still announced the lockdown. People performed the puja in temples and from there too, people were thrown out and arrested. The ram mandir in Central avenue (Kolkata) was covered with a cloth and no-one was allowed to go inside. In Kharagpur (West Midnapore) there is heavy presence of police deployed near temples so that Ram bhakts cannot enter,” said Dilip Ghosh.
BJP Medinipur district President Shankar Ghuchayat was arrested on Wednesday outside the BJP office. Police acted on a tip off from residents in the vicinity.
In another incident in Medinipur, the police arrested worshippers inside a temple and locked the gates.
The BJP Mahila Morcha organized a Bhoomi Pujan in Nuruddin Road in Asansol in West Burdwan district.
BJP district President Asha Sharma questioned why Mamata called a lockdown on the same day.
“A lockdown was called on the same day on purpose. It has hurt the sentiments of Ram bhakts. Why did she have to call a lockdown today? Was it to play politics?” she asked.
The police also arrested people performing Bhoomi Pujan at Hanuman temple in Talgicha area of Kharagpur in West Midnapore district. The police stopped a person from performing puja, and when the person tried to convince the Police that he lived nearby, a policeman slapped him.
Following this, an angry mob agitated in front of the police. One person even sat in front of the Police car.
Officials resorted to lathicharging the protesters, including women devotees.
The West Bengal administration has changed the lockdown dates four times keeping in mind both Hindu and Muslim festivals and Independence day. However despite requests from right wing activists, the lockdown on the 5th of August was not withdrawn. This had irked the BJP.