In West Bengal, Two Contrasting Voices of Violence and Peace


A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) delegation left Kolkata on Sunday morning to visit the violence-hit areas of Asansol in West Bengal, ignoring the state administration's ban on entering the area. Mr Tripathi said people from all religions should respect each other's festivals. "I appeal to people here to maintain peace and harmony", Tripathi said.

I had the discussion about the situation with the IG, the district magistrate and other officers and they have briefed me about the situation as how it occured and the relief measures which are being adopted by the district administration.

The violence spread to areas in Asansol, prompting the police to suspend Internet services and clamp prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC in the trouble-torn areas of the district. Trinamool Congress secretary general Partha Chatterjee however claimed, "Only the Governor can explain why he could not visit the places earlier".

"People will question the governor about his visit to selected areas".

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While Union minister of state for heavy industries and public enterprises Babul Supriyo on Thursday threatened to "skin" some people shouting slogans against him, Maulana Imdadul Rashidi, imam of the Noorani Mosque in Asansol's Chetladanga Nadi Par. the very same day, urged his congregation not to retaliate for his son's death. "I want peace. My boy has been taken away". It also clarified it would not be able to provide ample police protection and pilot cars to the BJP delegation as it would violate the model code of conduct issued in the state since Saturday for the impending rural elections here.

A Congress delegation led by state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury was also barred from entering Asansol while Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sujan Chakraborty and his associates were stopped by police from going to Raniganj on Saturday.

The governor, however, chose not to stop at any of the minority-dominated areas during slightly over than four hours visit.

According to a senior police officer privy to the development, apart from the traditional posting of DIB (District Intelligence Branch) officer in each police districts, the local civic volunteers of the police will also be used to collect information.