Bengal Ram Navami clash: Howrah Police says situation under control, 36 arrested
Kolkata/IBNS: "Thirty-six people have been arrested and the situation is now under control," said Howrah Police a day after clashes broke out between two groups over the Hindu festival Ram Navami in the Howrah district of West Bengal.
Howrah City Police Commissioner Praveen Tripathi told IBNS, "Traffic on GT Road is normal, shops are open in the area. There is no problem at the scene right now. Situation is under control. Area domination, route marches are underway in the area.
"36 people have been arrested so far in connection with the incident. We are keeping watch on the developments. An investigation has been initiated into the root of yesterday's incident. We will share more details after the probe is completed."
Several vehicles were set on fire, stones were thrown and shops were ransacked as clashes between two groups broke out in West Bengal's Howrah amid Ram Navami celebrations on Thursday forcing riot control police to march across several parts of the sears as well as Kolkata.
Police were deployed heavily after television visuals showed several vehicles engulfed in flames.
The violence broke out when a Ram Navami procession was crossing the Kazipara locality.
A number of cars, including a few police vehicles, were damaged during the violence and the security personnel had to fire tear gas shells to disperse the mob.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was on a two-day sit-in protest (dharna) in Kolkata against Centre's policies, called "rioters the enemy of the country" and said those behind today's violence "will not be spared".
"Those who were involved in today's violence will not be spared based on any excuse. As far as the police are concerned, they are working tirelessly, but at times they find themselves in a tough situation to have good relations on both sides and maintain peace," Banerjee said.
"Let me make this very clear, in today's incident, the ones who have given safe passage to the offenders, I will take strong action against them. There were clear instructions to mark the routes for the procession. I do not support the riot-mongers and consider them the enemy of the country," she said.
In a direct dig at the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Bengal, the CM said: "They (BJP) have always targeted Howrah. The other targets for them are Park Circus and Islampur. Everybody must be alert in their localities."